News and Updates


Critical Habitat Assessmentjpegarticle

The internationally accepted definition of critical habitat is any habitat (natural or modified) with high biodiversity value/s, including (i) habitat of significant importance to Critically and/or Endangered species; (ii) habitat of significant importance to endemic and/or restricted-range species; (iii) habitat supporting globally significant concentrations of migratory and/or congregatory species; (iv) highly threatened and/or unique ecosystems; and/or (v) areas associated with key evolutionary processes . These values may require targeted surveys to determine presence/absence.
Earth Systems can undertake a Critical Habitat Assessment according to international criteria and provide the best pathway to preventing, mitigating, managing, restoring and offsetting impacts on any critical habitat identified.

The assessment will involve:

  • Literature and data review;
  • Stakeholder consultation;
  • In-field data collection and field verification of remote analysis/previous data (i.e. Priority Species and Habitat Surveys; and
  • Spatial analysis and screening of biodiversity features (e.g. approach outlined by Stefan et al. 2013).

A Critical Habitat Assessment may be a requirement of financing (e.g. IFC) and/or permitting, or your development may wish to demonstrate internationally-accepted scientific rigour in conserving biodiversity given the presence of priority species/habitats. Regardless of the reason, if you are interested in a Critical Habitat Assessment, contact




Aquatic Ecology and Macroinvertebrate Surveys


Some of the most important and influential ecological features of an area are its aquatic habitats including rivers and associated tributaries. Establishing an aquatic baseline explores the biodiversity of aquatic habitats, priority species, current threats and ecosystem services (e.g. drinking water, fisheries). The baseline provides information to prevent and mitigate development-related impacts and to benchmark against future monitoring surveys to determine the success of avoidance/mitigation measures.

Earth Systems has been undertaking aquatic ecology surveys and assessments in East and West Africa for many years. Earth Systems’ ecologists will tailor survey needs to the area and development-type, for example, assessments may include:

  • Fish, macroinvertebrate, microinvertebrate, zooplankton and phytoplankton surveys – using a variety of techniques (e.g. kick nets, drift nets);
  • Priority species and habitat assessment – locally, regionally and/or globally important species/habitats (for further information see our services page);
  • Physio-chemical water quality assessment – parameters including temperature, pH, oxygenation, metal concentrations;
  • Fish tissue analysis – metal/ion concentrations in fish tissue can indicate the health of aquatic environments;
  • Waterway health – using macroinvertebrate diversity, with some species being more sensitive/tolerant of pollution (e.g. South African Scoring System, French Indice Biologique Global Normalisé IBGN, AUSRIVAS)

Surveys assist with the mitigation of threats/impacts and conservation and management of local populations under continued threats and consideration future developments. In addition, scientifically-robust and internationally standard management measures to mitigate impacts and conserve local populations of priority species and habitats can contribute to the conservation of global populations/distribution.

Aquatic ecology surveys are often a requirement of development project feasibility and permitting processes and are especially important considering water is often a limited and valued resource across sub-Saharan Africa. If you are interested in undertaking aquatic ecology surveys and developing rigorous management and monitoring plans to avoid and mitigate impacts on these important water resources and their species, contact


Earth Systems at Mining Indaba

Earth Systems is looking forward to attending the upcoming Mining Indaba conference, Africa’s largest mining event held in Cape Town, South Africa February 8- 11.

This year’s addition of the Sustainability Roundtables put on by the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Metals and Sustainable Development are sure to spark interesting discussions with topics ranging from unplanned closure liabilities and post-closure socio-economic impacts on local communities, resilience of the mining industry to climate and the mining industry in the context of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Roundtables will be led by a number of Earth Systems’ past and current clients including the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). We are looking forward to contributing to the conversation our experience in environmental and social assessment and management working with mining companies and communities across the African continent. With current trends in the industry and the impact on commodity-dependent economies, identifying risks and opportunities focused around sustainability, resilience and local community is critical.


Earth Systems opens East African office in Kigali, Rwanda

earth-sys We are pleased to announce that in January 2016, Earth Systems opened its newest office  in Kigali, Rwanda. This office will serve East Africa and beyond, providing expertise and  international experience in the environmental assessment and management of a diversity  of projects across the region.


Study on Community Development Funds and the Extractive Industry for EITI-Senegal

As part of the implementation of its annual action plan for 2015, the Parliamentary Network for Good Governance of Mineral  Resources (Réseau Parlementaire pour la bonne gouvernance des Ressources Minérales (RGM)), together with EITI-Senegal,  expressed strong interest in a review of current local development practices and applicable community funds in the extractive  sector in Senegal, Africa and beyond. The review explored opportunities to strengthen the mechanisms for benefit sharing via  existing and potential social funds in the mining sector in Senegal.

Earth Systems was engaged by RGM, in collaboration with the EITI, to conduct a study on social funds in Senegal in the mining  sector and prepare a Briefing Note to provide background information and analysis on experiences pertaining to community development funds. The Briefing Note was based on a literature review as well as interviews with key government agencies, local authorities, civil society representatives and more than ten companies from the mining, oil and gas and cement production sectors in Senegal.

The Briefing Note informed discussion at the Workshop on the Extractive Sector and Community Development in Senegal: Community Development Funds organized by the RGM and Earth Systems in Dakar on 21 December 2015. The workshop was attended by over 30 key representatives from government agencies, extractive operators and NGOs.

Key points raised during open discussion at the workshop include the need to operationalise the existing Funds noted in the Mining Code, aligning Fund activities with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and local development plans, increasing opportunities for communication and partnership between extractive companies and between government, communities and industry, and managing expectations around the role of the extractive industry in community development.

Based on the findings of the Briefing Note and feedback gathered during the workshop, Earth Systems proposed a range of recommendations to the RGM to enhance the legislative framework and collaboration between government, industry and civil society with the aim of strengthening community development and environmental initiatives funded by the extractive sector.


Environmental and Social Risk Management and Monitoring for Road Projects – Capacity Building Workshops in Senegal

As part of capacity building around a Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) guarantee of two road sub-projects in Senegal, Earth Systems was engaged by MIGA, with support from the Japan Africa Trust Fund, to undertake a workshop on environmental and social risk management with representatives from the Senegalese road agency AGEROUTE as well as the Environmental Ministry and other key road right-of-way stakeholder government agencies.

The workshop took place from 4-6 August 2015 and was entitled “Environmental and Social Risk Management and Monitoring for Road Projects” (French: Atelier sur la gestion des risques et le suivi environnemental et social dans le secteur routier). The objectives of the workshop were to:

    • Provide AGEROUTE and other related government agencies the capacity to assess, monitor and document the environmental and social compliance of the two sub-projects, as well as future projects; and
    • Provide a forum for sharing knowledge and experience on the design and implementation of community development funds.

The workshop was attended by 44 key environmental and management representatives from numerous Senegalese government agencies involved in road projects. The workshop was well received by the participants and it was the first meeting between many of the representatives. A key outcome of the workshop is the development of a network for sharing experiences and expertise, with the goal of improving the application of international best practice in environmental and social risk management for road projects in Senegal.


Biosecurity in the Black

Biosecurity in the Black: “New pyrolysis technology is an innovative tool in the battle against diseases, explains environmental scientist Peter Hughes.”

This article first appeared in the Autumn 2014 issue of Chartered Forester, the magazine for members of the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), and is reproduced by kind permission of the ICF (


Clear Solutions

A new issue of Clear Solutions is now available for download. Clear Solutions is a newsletter covering some of the latest trends, opportunities and leading practices in water quality management and treatment.

In this issue:

      • Clear Solutions for Underground Mines
        Underground mines present a range of challenges with respect to acid and metalliferous drainage (AMD) and water quality management. Fortunately there are some effective solutions applicable at all stages of mine development — planning, operations and closure — that can dramatically reduce the risks and costs associated with these issues.
      • Planning: Plan ahead to avoid AMD
        Pre-mining planning decisions for underground mines can dramatically lower water quality impacts and AMD management and closure costs.
      • Operations: Managing operational water quality and odour issues
        Managing underground water quality and related gas emissions has become critical to the safe and compliant operation of underground mines.
      • Closure: Inert atmosphere technology for post-closure AMD management
        For free-draining underground mines, both historic and recently decommissioned, there is finally an alternative to water treatment in perpetuity or risky pressure bulkheads for managing AMD.


Earth Systems is an Accredited ESIA Consultancy Firm in Liberia

In 2014, Earth Systems became an accredited ESIA consultancy firm in Liberia. We are assisting international clients with projects on the ground through the Liberian project permitting process including scoping, preparing Terms of Reference and Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs), stakeholder engagement and consultation. Through its partnerships with Liberian consultancies and established relationships with government and non-governmental organisations, Earth Systems has developed a large network of local, regional and international experts and a comprehensive understanding of the local context.


Leading Practice

A new issue of Leading Practice is now available for download. Leading Practice is a newsletter produced by Earth Systems that explore latest trends, opportunities and leading practices in environmental management, compliance and assessment. This issue includes information on:

      • Planning for Mine Closure – Designing for closure to minimise environmental risk
      • Geochemical Engineering – De-risking mine waste management
      • Advanced Compliance Monitoring – New technologies help reduce monitoring costs
      • Safe Onsite Destruction of Hazardous Waste – New pyrolysis technology offers an innovative solution


Earth Systems Teams Up with the Victorian Government and IITK to Combat Tannery Waste Issues in the Ganges River Basin, India.

Earth Systems has teamed up with the Victorian Government and the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK), to deliver a roadmap for action by government, business and the community for the benefit of the environment and the Jajmau Leather Industry in Uttar Pradesh, India. The project is supported and funded by AusAID. The roadmap will provide a realistic and measured approach to address social and environmental impacts and will offer both technical and regulatory solutions.

The Ganga Basin is the most heavily populated river basin in the world, with millions of people dependant on the river for their daily needs. In the world famous leather manufacturing enclave of Jajmau, every day over 400 tanneries generate wastewater containing high levels of chromium, sulphide, organic matter and salt. Presently the waste management system cannot deal with the quantity and quality of the waste that is generated. Most of the wastewater ends up making its way untreated to the Ganges River due to failing infrastructure and the lack of capacity to treat the effluent.

Earth Systems, the Victorian Government and IITK are working together to find a balance between technical solutions, regulatory interventions, industry support programs and education of the tannery community. Our Vision is that the Leather Industry in Jajmau is able to sustain growth whilst not compromising the health of the river and the community.

Implementation of the plan will:

      • Ensure a sustainable and prosperous tannery industry
      • Protect employment for the local community
      • Improve health and safety
      • Reduce pollution, and
      • Establish a predictable, transparent and proportionate regulatory model


Earth Systems at the SIM Senegal Mining Conference

Earth Systems successfully exhibited and presented at the SIM Senegal Mining Conference earlier this month. Now in its second year, the conference ran from 6 – 8 November 2012 in Dakar, Senegal. Staff from our Australian, Senegal and UK offices attended the event, which attracted 75 exhibitors, 65 speakers and over 500 delegates originating from 22 countries.

Earth Systems has been working in West Africa for 10 years and currently have a number of on-going projects in Senegal and Guinea. Our regional Dakar office gives us advantages in project delivery in Senegal and the wider West African region, particularly having developed extensive regional experience in Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and Water Management. Our local knowledge and skills are supported by our international expertise to deliver a broad depth of expertise. As a result, interest in our services and experience was high amongst SIM delegates and we are looking forward to assisting our current and future clients in successfully delivering their projects across the region.


Lake Tai Water Pollution Treatment Project, China

The Final International Dissemination Seminar for the Lake Tai Water Pollution Treatment Project was held in Suzhou on March 20, 2012. The workshop brought together over 170 policy decision-makers and specialists from across China to discuss the results of the three year collaboration under the Australia China Environment Development Partnership. A number of specialists from the AUS Lake Tai Cluster, attended including representatives from Earth Systems, Hunter Water Corporation, eWater and Department of Primary Industries (VIC). Before the event, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the National Reform and Development Commission’s International Cooperation Centre, Suzhou Development and Reform Commission and the AUS Lake Tai Cluster to establish the China-Australia Water Resource and Environment Cooperation and Research Centre, and continue this partnership over the next 5 years.

Lake Tai is the third largest lake in China but is the most important in terms of population density and contribution of the basin to national GDP. Water quality and algal blooms in Lake Tai has been recognised as a serious national issue for the P.R. China, particularly following the severe Cyanobacterial algae outbreak in 2007. The State Council has approved a comprehensive restoration program for the Basin.

In 2009 the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) provided funding for the Lake Tai Water Pollution Treatment Project under the Australia China Environment Development Partnership Initiative (ACEDP). The objective of the Project is to strengthen management and policy approaches in the Lake Tai basin by increasing awareness of Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM) and science-based management/planning approaches.

More information about the project can be found at:


Earth Systems is a Registered Environmental Expert for the Government of Zanzibar

Earth Systems is now a registered Environmental Expert for the Government of Zanzibar. We are now providing environmental and social consultancy services in Zanzibar.


Earth Systems Senegal Office
Face Station Shell Ngor-Almadies,
Route de l’aéroport,
lot N° 02, Dakar, Senegal
Tel: (221) 3386 83023
Fax: (221) 3382 04351

Earth Systems Rwanda Office
KG 599 ST, House 13,
Gishushu, Kigali, Rwanda
Tel: +250 781 103 535
Fax: +221 3382 04351