The Endangered Landscapes Programme (ELP) was officially launched on Thursday 4 October, with the announcement of eight new projects that are being supported and funded by the Programme.
The Programme has been established thanks to a US$30 million investment from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, and is a partnership between Arcadia and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative. The Programme introduces an exciting vision for the future, in which Europe’s landscapes are enriched with biodiversity, establishing resilient, more self-sustaining ecosystems that benefit both nature and people.
Speaking at the launch Dr Mike Rands, Executive Director of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, said, ‘Today is an exciting moment for the conservation of nature in Europe. We believe that the ELP is an innovative step towards the recovery of biodiversity throughout this wonderful and diverse region.’
The eight projects being funded through the Programme are located throughout geographical Europe. Ranging from the peaks of the Carpathian Mountains in Romania to the underwater shoreline of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, the projects illustrate the diversity and richness of Europe’s landscapes. Although the interventions planned at each site differ, the projects are united in their overall ambitions: to restore natural ecological processes, to reconnect habitat fragments, and to revive rural economies in ways that link to environmental resources and people’s social and cultural connection to the places where they live. The significant size of these projects is also crucial; as Professor Sir John Lawton, Chair of the ELP’s Oversight and Selection Panel, commented at the ELP launch: “We need to stop thinking about protected areas as isolated units in the landscape – we need to approach conservation at a landscape-scale if we are really going to make a difference”.
Representatives from each of the eight projects presented their projects at the launch event, where they were joined by others from the conservation community and beyond, as well as Dr Lisbet Rausing, co-founder of the Arcadia Fund, who reflected on her motivations for initiating and funding the Endangered Landscapes Programme. All of the presentations from the evening can be found here.