The Cambridge Conservation Initiative is delighted to announce that Professor Sir John Lawton has accepted an invitation to chair the Oversight and Selection Panel for the new Endangered Landscapes Programme (ELP).
Professor Sir John Lawton is an eminent British ecologist, currently President of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and a Vice President of the RSPB. Throughout his distinguished career, Sir John has held a number of pivotal roles, including Chief Executive of the Natural Environment Research Council for 6 years. He was Chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution from 2005 until its closure in 2011. Sir John has played a major part in promoting UK-wide wildlife conservation, leading the ‘Lawton Review’ of the resilience and adequacy of England’s wildlife sites. The review’s report, Making Space for Nature, was published in 2010. Concluding that England’s ecological network is too small and isolated, the review called for better protection of England’s wildlife and the establishment of new Ecological Restoration Zones. This was widely supported, leading to the establishment in 2011 of Nature Improvement Areas, and the report continues to inform policy today.
The ELP has been established to support landscape restoration in Europe. While protection for the many wild and wonderful areas worthy of conservation in Europe is vitally important, the long-term health of the region’s biodiversity requires reversing human degradation through creation of landscapes that are extensive, connected and resilient. The establishment of restored landscapes generates significant benefits to people, such as the provision of spaces for inspiration and enjoyment, the protection of ecosystem processes that provide us with sustainable supplies of clean air, fresh water and food, and enhanced resilience to climatic changes such as storms and sea-level rise. The recovery of degraded landscapes and their natural processes leads to places where nature thrives, without the need for intensive and costly management. This is of particular importance in a changing world, as large areas of land allow wildlife to move freely as it adapts to climate change.
Managed by CCI, the ELP is supported by Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. The ELP’s Oversight and Selection Panel (OSP) will be responsible for recommending which projects receive major grants from the Programme, drawing on their experience, networks and knowledge of landscape restoration. An invitation to submit expressions of interest to the Programme has recently gone out to 21 organisations in Europe.