The Endangered Landscapes Programme is working towards a future in which landscapes and seascapes support healthy ecosystems with flourishing populations of animals and plants, with space for the natural functioning of ecological processes. The restored ecosystems will support and respect the social, cultural and economic values of nature, and increase resilience to shocks and stresses such as climate change. Our annual review provides an insight into the programme’s activities to support partners to deliver landscape and seascape restoration in Europe throughout 2022.
Europe’s landscapes and seascapes have suffered from severe degradation and fragmentation due to urbanisation, pollution, illegal hunting, intensive agriculture, plantation forestry, over-extraction of resources, introduction of invasive alien species, and modification of river flows. These threats have only increased in recent years, with the latest assessment by the European Environment Agency showing that Europe’s biodiversity is continuing to decline at an alarming rate, with the conservation status of only 14% of habitats and 27% of non-bird species being rated as ‘good’.
Healthy landscapes and seascapes rich in wildlife are an essential part of Europe’s future as they provide ecosystem services which support health and wellbeing, food production, water supply, control of pests and diseases, resilience to climate change, and drought mitigation. Urgent action is needed to address the damage to our environment and restoration is a powerful tool to reverse the loss and fragmentation of Europe’s habitats.
The Endangered Landscapes Programme focusses on making grants to support partnerships to deliver landscape and seascape scale restoration projects. These projects continued to deliver impressive results during 2022. Now that the first cohort of restoration projects have reached their fifth year of implementation, they have valuable lessons and evidence of impact to share. They demonstrate that it is possible to bring about positive change through restoring ecosystems at scale. This restoration work is supported by research and monitoring which underpins the programme’s evidence-based approach. In late 2022, these projects were joined by a second cohort of seven new projects which further scale up the delivery of large scale restoration in Europe.
In December 2022 a new Global Biodiversity Framework was agreed by signatories to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. The agreement includes measurable targets for restoration of 30% of the world’s degraded land. In Europe a new law on nature restoration has been proposed which will set legally binding targets for restoration. The work of the ELP makes an important contribution to delivering the ambitions of these global and regional agreements.
Our annual review provides an insight into the programme’s activities to support landscape and seascape restoration in Europe through bringing together top stories from our projects, presenting the latest data from our programme impact indicators, and providing a summary of the programme’s annual accounts.
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