CCI Landscape Restoration Programme Manager appointed

21st November 2016

The Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, has provided a start-up grant to the Cambridge Conservation Initiative to develop an exciting new initiative focusing on landscape restoration in Europe: the European Landscape Restoration Programme.

Centuries of human occupation and land use have resulted in degradation and loss of the world’s wild areas. Consequently, current conservation action often focuses on protecting areas of remaining natural habitat in order to reduce or halt the rate of biodiversity loss. In Europe, however, as elsewhere, significant opportunities exist to restore large areas of degraded habitat. Not only can this approach generate resilient, self-sustaining ecosystems, but it can also bring about a fundamental shift in the way people perceive and engage with nature, introducing a positive agenda for action, and offering an exciting vision of hope for the future by improving ecosystems for both wildlife and people.

After the initial start-up phase the European Landscape Restoration Programme will develop and share mechanisms to attain large-scale restoration of habitats that are rich in biodiversity and resilient to environmental change. The Programme’s main component will be a CCI-managed fund for collaborative landscape restoration projects, supported by processes that aim to a) develop capacity on the ground, b) promote the sharing of successes and failures, c) raise public awareness, and d) catalyse the development of policy and law aimed at enabling and supporting ecosystem restoration in Europe. The Programme will also help build capacity for restoration and support collaboration with conservation/restoration practitioners in the region.

Dr David Thomas has been seconded from BirdLife International for the next 18 months to manage the start-up phase of this new programme in consultation with partners and other stakeholders.  Over the last 19 years David has been with the BirdLife International Secretariat, where most recently he was the Head of Communities and Livelihoods. In this capacity he coordinated a global programme of research, capacity development, advocacy and action focused on empowerment of local, grassroots organisations, and the linkages between biodiversity and livelihoods. David has an MSc in Conservation from University College London, and a PhD in Geography from the University of Cambridge.

The Cambridge Conservation Initiative would like to express our gratitude to Arcadia for their initial start-up investment to create this programme and for their incredible vision that our planet’s biodiversity and endangered ecosystems should be protected for the future of humankind.

Additional information will be forthcoming on the website in due course, as the programme develops.

photo credits: flickr, Jeremy Mikkola, 2008