Successful Collaborative Fund proposals unveiled

19th June 2013

From Key Biodiversity Areas to marine ecosystem services, via crop eco-certification and the world’s most threatened feline, the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) is pleased to announce the successful applications to the CCI Collaborative Fund for Conservation for 2013.

This year six applications have been offered grants by the Fund. They are:

  • Setting the foundations for a new approach to identify Key Biodiversity Areas A collaboration between IUCN, BirdLife International, UNEP-WCMC, University of Cambridge Department of Geography, Sapienza University and Microsoft Research
  • Enhancing the spatial targeting of tropical crop eco-certification University of Cambridge Department of Zoology, RSPB, BirdLife International and Rainforest Alliance
  • Can land sparing mitigate climate change? University of Cambridge Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge Department of Plant Sciences and RSPB
  • Enhancing learning and leadership in organisational development among conservation organisations globally Fauna & Flora International, BirdLife International, TBA and University of Cambridge Department of Geography
  • Mediterranean wood pastures for biodiversity – Making the Lynx University of Cambridge Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge Department of Geography, Fauna & Flora International and League for the Protection of Nature (Portugal)
  • Attaining Aichi Target 11: How well are marine ecosystem services secured by protected areas? Cambridge Conservation Forum (The Nature Conservancy), UNEP-WCMC, University of Cambridge Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge Department of Geography, BirdLife International and World Resources Institute

The CCI Collaborative Fund for Conservation was established to support innovative, collaborative conservation projects undertaken by CCI partners. The breadth and diversity of expertise within Cambridge’s conservation cluster is key to the success of these projects. As Hannah Thomas, one of the project leads for Attaining Aichi Target 11: How well are marine ecosystem services secured by protected areas?, commented, “This project builds on the synergies that arise from the co-location of complementary academic and NGO expertise in Cambridge, in particular the wealth of biological and science policy experience, combined with availability of data and the technical capabilities needed for global level analyses.”

Harnessing the expertise and broad reach of CCI partners means that Collaborative Fund projects are well-equipped to address significant conservation issues. The project Enhancing the spatial targeting of tropical crop eco-certification is a case in point. “Eco-certification of tropical crops such as oil palm and coffee is emerging as a key tool for improving the ecological and social impacts of agriculture. But we don’t have much information on exactly where certification is happening, and whether it could be better targeted towards the places where it could have most benefit,” explained Dr Ben Phalan, of the Department of Zoology. “Our partnership between the University of Cambridge, RSPB, BirdLife International and Rainforest Alliance will bring together detailed information on certified farms from the major schemes to develop a more systematic understanding that we think can help to make certification schemes more effective.”

All projects submitted to the Collaborative Fund must address a high biodiversity conservation issue and include some combination of research, education, policy and practice. Included in the proposals offered funding this year is a project focusing on one of the world’s 34 hotspots, the Mediterranean basin. Dr Will Simonson of the Department of Plant Sciences, the project lead for Mediterranean wood pastures for biodiversity – Making the Lynx, said, “Our project aims to achieve a first-ever strategic response to the threat of biodiversity loss in one of the most emblematic of landscapes in southern Europe, Portugal’s montado wood pastures. By collaborating with staff in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Geography, Fauna & Flora International and the League for the Protection of Nature, we will be able to carry out activities that range from original research to practical application on the ground.”

The CCI Collaborative Fund for Conservation has awarded over £1 million to collaborative projects since its inception in 2009. The CCI Collaborative Fund is made possible thanks to the generous support of Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, the Grantham Foundation for the Environment, the Paul and Louise Cooke Endowment and the A.G. Leventis Foundation.

For more information on previous projects supported by the Collaborative Fund, visit the Projects page.