While nature has its own intrinsic value, it is crucial for us to remember that only healthy landscapes can provide us with the natural resources we all depend on, such as food, clean air and fresh water, and offer sources of inspiration and enjoyment. Many wild and wonderful places remain across Europe, but centuries of human pressures have led to the loss of many plant and animal species. This has diminished nature’s ability to provide the key ecosystem services on which we depend.
The Endangered Landscape Programme has a vision for the future in which landscapes:
- Support viable populations of native species with the capacity for landscape-scale movement
- Provide space for the natural functioning of ecological processes
- Provide sustainable cultural, social and economic benefits to people
- Are resilient to climate change
Traditional approaches to conservation have often involved intensive and costly management of disconnected fragments of land in an attempt to hang on to the biodiversity we have left. While these approaches continue to be important, they are simply not enough to tackle wider declines in biodiversity and achieve ambitious environmental targets set by international policy. We need to transform our environment at landscape scale and repair the damage that has been done.
The Endangered Landscapes Programme aims to do just this. Experience shows us that when exploitative activities end, barriers to recovery are removed, and nature is given time to heal itself, degraded landscapes can recover.
This does not mean recreating the past or taking things back to a time before human influence. Instead, our projects aim to restore natural ecosystem processes, healthy populations and habitats that deliver sustainable benefits for nature and people within the context of a changing climate and a globalised economy.
The Programme supports projects that create new opportunities for people as landscapes recover. Ecological restoration can be a mechanism for reviving local communities, stimulating sustainable economic and social change in ways that are sensitive to past histories and the connections between culture, livelihoods, language and landscape.
The Endangered Landscapes Programme aims to achieve its vision by:
- Funding the 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 (see our Implementation Projects).
- Supporting participatory planning and development of new and innovative landscape restoration initiatives (see our Planning Projects).
- Providing inspiration and creating the conditions for scaling-up restoration in Europe through capacity building at the national and local level, sharing best practice and lessons learnt from its funded projects, and using robust evidence to demonstrate to key decision-makers the environmental, social and economic benefits to be won from ecosystem recovery (see our Advancing and Applying Knowledge Projects).
In May 2022, the ELP updated its strategy (2022 – 2030), which can be found here: