The Endangered Landscapes Programme introduces a positive and optimistic agenda for action, reversing biodiversity loss and providing inspiration for a fundamental shift in the policy and practice of nature conservation.
It offers an exciting vision of hope for the future in which European landscapes are enriched with biodiversity, establishing resilient, more self-sustaining ecosystems that benefit both nature and people.
Landscapes should be places where:
- Nature thrives, without the need for intensive and costly management, providing inspiration and enjoyment
- Ecosystem processes provide us with a sustainable supply of clean air, fresh water, food and fuel
- Natural habitats protect us from floods, storms and sea-level rise
- Wildlife can move freely as it adapts to climate change
Landscapes like this are endangered, as agricultural intensification, urbanisation, transport infrastructure, commercial forestry and other forms of ‘development’ have caused the areas we value for wildlife to become increasingly fragmented, and biodiversity has become confined to intensively managed islands of habitat.
The long-term future health of biodiversity requires reversing human degradation through creation of landscapes that are extensive, connected and resilient. When exploitative activities end, barriers to recovery are removed, and nature is given time to heal itself, degraded landscapes can recover.
Restoring landscapes for life
The Endangered Landscapes Programme aims to giving space back to nature, so that ecological processes recover, ecosystem services increase, and species populations grow – and in so-doing making places – whether cities, forests or fens – more natural, richer in biodiversity and more dynamic, for the benefit of nature and people. The programme is not about recreating the past and taking things back to a time before human influence, but aims to restore processes, populations and habitats for a better and more sustainable future. It signals a shift away from ‘slowing declines’ and ‘no net loss’ to a more positive and creative agenda in which the potential of our land and seas is recognised.
The Endangered Landscapes Programme is working to demonstrate and deliver an ambitious, hope filled, forward looking vision for the future in which landscapes:
- Support viable populations of native species with capacity for landscape-scale movement;
- Provide space for the natural functioning of ecological processes, so reducing or even eliminating the need for intensive management;
- Are resilient to short and longer-term change (such as climate fluctuations);
- Provide sustainable cultural, social and economic benefits to people.
The programme does this by:
- Funding implementation of a suite of large-scale restoration initiatives that will bring back nature and be sources of inspiration, models of good practice, and foci for lesson-learning;
- Supporting participatory planning and development of new and innovative landscape restoration initiatives;
- Building capacity nationally and locally, by facilitating the transfer of skills and know-how between individuals and institutions;
- Sharing knowledge, lessons and experience to help deliver strategies, policies and technical information required for creating sustainable landscapes;
- Demonstrating to decision-makers, through the initiatives that it supports, the environmental, social and economic benefits that are possible from the recovery of nature and ecosystem processes in Europe’s degraded landscapes.
The programme is managed by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and is funded by Arcadia, a charitable fund of Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing.
Image credits in slider: Ondrej Prosicky / Shutterstock, vvvita / Shutterstock, Wiktor Bubniak / Shutterstock, Volodymyr Goinyk / Shutterstock.