Why is funding needed?

Restoring ecosystems can help to address some of the most urgent challenges that society faces, including biodiversity loss and climate change. Yet funding for restoration projects falls short of what is needed to achieve current restoration targets. The reasons for this are varied and include: the long-time horizon for ecosystem recovery; institutional complexity; and the challenges of cross-sectoral collaboration that landscape and seascape restoration entails. Diverse funding that initiates and sustains this restoration process is critical to success.

What do we fund?

The Endangered Landscapes & Seascapes Programme awards grants for inspirational landscape and seascape restoration initiatives that deliver benefits for nature, climate, and people. We also fund planning for landscape restoration. For example, planning grants might support the complex partnerships required for successful landscape-scale restoration, or enable organisations to gather baseline information, undertake technical studies, or prepare business plans. Recipients of planning grants often go on to successfully apply for funding from sources such as governments or foundations to begin restoration on the ground.

Long-term funding for restoration

We facilitate the creation of the long-term financial mechanisms that support the development and growth of nature positive businesses in landscapes and seascapes undergoing restoration, thereby creating positive change in people’s lives and enhancing the relationship between communities and their environment. We also help projects to explore additional finance options which can flow from restoration, including from voluntary markets for carbon credits. Some donors, for example the EU LIFE programme, require initiatives to provide match funds to access funding.  Between the programme’s launch in 2019 and 2022, projects have used ELSP funds to leverage a further US$ 28 million so that even more restoration can be delivered on the ground.

Understanding voluntary carbon markets

Storing or sequestering greenhouse gases, which mitigates the effects of climate change, is a key ecosystem service provided by landscapes. There is therefore substantial interest among ELSP-funded projects in the growing market of buying and selling carbon credits as a source of long-term finance for restoration. However, it can be challenging for projects to know how to effectively enter and navigate the complex and rapidly changing world of voluntary carbon markets. An ELSP Applying and Advancing Knowledge grant has produced guidance that helps projects better understand the opportunities and costs associated with engaging with voluntary carbon markets and carbon standards.

Enabling nature-positive enterprises

Restoration projects often include an ambition to develop nature-positive enterprises (NPE) within their landscape or seascape.  However, conservation organisations face a range of practical barriers to supporting NPEs which include: identifying appropriate products or industries; access to technical support; knowledge of how to design enterprises to achieve biodiversity impact; and access to appropriate sources of finance. To overcome some of these challenges, an ELSP-funded Advancing and Applying Knowledge grant has been awarded to Fauna & Flora and the University of Cambridge Judge Business School. They have developed and delivered structured training, guidance and case studies on the development of NPEs. By increasing the capacity, resources and tools available to enable enterprise development in restoration landscapes, we expect more NPEs to be developed and succeed. Successful NPEs increase funding for restoration, improve incentives for land managers and users to protect and restore biodiversity, and increase sustainability and resilience of local economies.