Nine new grants awarded for planning landscape and seascape restoration

Posted: 12th October 2023

Photo: Buseu project

With generous funding from Arcadia, the Endangered Landscapes & Seascapes Programme is delighted to announce the awarding of US$850,000 to nine new planning projects in Europe, following an open and competitive process that received over 100 applications.

These nine landscape and seascape restoration initiatives embrace a range of ecosystems including mountain ranges, coastal estuaries, river floodplains and grassland steppes. They involve a wide range of land tenure and partners working together across many sectors including nature conservation, forestry, agriculture, water, and energy with a mixture of complex institutional and ecological barriers to be overcome. The organisations implementing the projects are united by a positive vision to restore ecosystem processes at scale so that nature and people can thrive in the long-term.

These new planning projects will join the programme’s growing network of landscape and seascape restoration practitioners and benefit from lessons learned by the first group of planning projects, which completed in 2022. They are:

Planning Grant

Country Lead Organisation

Learning from the past, restoring for the future: Rewilding West Kazakhstan’s Steppe 



Restoring the Javakheti wetlands for people and birds

Georgia Centre for Biodiversity Conservation and Research

The Wild Pre-Pyrenees


Spain Pau Costa Foundation

Transforming the Thames



Racha-Likhi Ridge


Georgia SABUKO

Ararat Plain


Armenia BirdLinks Armenia

Restoring the Prairies and Forests of the Tuscan- Emilian Apennine

Italy Legambiante Nazionale APS

Reconnecting the Latorica river floodplain

Slovakia, Ukraine Wetlands International European Association

Southwestern Carpathians: Safeguarding Europe’s largest Wilderness Area


Natura 2000 Coalition Romania Foundation

The Endangered Landscapes & Seascapes Programme recognises that the research, consultation, analysis, partnership building and participatory planning required for restoration takes time and resources and may present a barrier for the development of new and innovative initiatives. We hope that the funding can support the preparatory work required to make the most of opportunities for restoration in Europe.

In Armenia, BirdLinks Armenia are planning for the restoration of the Ararat Plain, a vast wetland area that provides a home for over 4,000 species of animals and plants including the endemic and critically endangered Armenian Cochineal, a scale insect which was traditionally used to produce a red dye for textiles.

This area was extensively drained for agriculture and has become salinized so is now abandoned providing an opportunity for restoration. Building on the results of a pilot intervention and working closely with local communities, as well as the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Territorial Administration the aim is to prepare a restoration plan.

“Implementation of the planning project will help us to develop a scientifically justified plan, which will demonstrate the technical, legal, and financial aspects of restoration, the potential benefits for biodiversity, local communities, and the government of Armenia, and justify the prioritization for restoration. The plan will become an efficient tool for marketing of the wetlands’ restoration in the Ararat Plain”.

–  Karen Aghababyan, Executive Director

The RSPB are working with their BirdLife partner, the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan, across 5 million hectares of steppe grassland to identify key areas for conservation action and to co-develop climate resilient restoration plans with local stakeholders.

Photo: Michele Bowe.

“The planning grant provides an opportunity to work collaboratively with local stakeholders to design a restoration plan. While not wanting to pre-empt the results, we envisage a landscape with large, connected areas of good quality steppe habitats providing space for species such as the critically endangered Saiga antelope to recolonise areas along former migration routes and provide ways for local pastoral communities to benefit from climate resilient, sustainable agriculture”.

– Michele Bowe, Senior Ecologist

In Slovakia, Wetlands International Europe will bring people together in Slovakia and Ukraine to co-create a plan for the restoration of the Latorica river floodplain, a patchwork of oxbow lakes, floodplain forests, grasslands and meadows and old river meanders that supports abundant biodiversity and provides protection from floods and droughts.

Photo: Milos Balla.

“Slovakia has committed to investing some of its budgeted EU Recovery and Resilience Funds for improving water management and restoring biodiversity in the Latorica region. Planning under the grant from the ELP will serve as a roadmap for guiding these investments to ensure they prioritise the restoration of ecosystem services”.

– Yurena Lorenzo de Quintana, European Programme Manager

As we progress through the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, we look forward to sharing future news stories to keep you updated on developments and to show the vital contribution that landscape and seascape restoration are making to address the global ecological and climate crises.

To read more about the new planning grants, visit their project pages

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