Supporting conservation policy decisions: grant from the MAVA Foundation

Supporting conservation policy decisions: grant from the MAVA Foundation

  • The wetlands of the Camargue, France. Image copyright Josef Grunig and used under a Creative Commons licence
    The wetlands of the Camargue, France

The MAVA Foundation has given a £1.14 million grant to Cambridge’s Department of Zoology to support its 'Conservation Evidence' project.

Led by Professor Bill Sutherland and Dr Rebecca Smith, the project aims to collate and disseminate scientific evidence about the effects of conservation management for wetland habitats, in partnership with Tour du Valat, as part of a free information resource designed to help conservationists around the world make decisions about how to maintain and restore global biodiversity. 

A project with global benefits

Wetland habitats are distinct ecosystems that are a home to a diverse amount of plant and animal life. These habitats are saturated by water, contain aquatic plants and serve as flood control, carbon sinks and water purification. Wetlands also protect against storms and provide stability to shorelines. Many wetlands have been destroyed but Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) partners are working to protect those remaining, along with other types of ecosystems, not just for the animal and plant life that they contain, but also for the contribution they make to stabilise the systems humankind depends upon.

Conservation Evidence has already produced synopses on bee, bird, amphibian, bat and forest conservation, amongst others, all of which are global in scope. Over the next five years, the project aims to produce or have underway further synopses covering every major habitat and taxonomic group. Evidence for the effectiveness of actions for the conservation of carnivores, primates, reptiles and biodiversity and ecosystem services in Mediterranean farmland is already being collated. Each synopsis will be produced through in depth literature reviews and shaped by an international panel of experts to provide an authoritative guide to conservation practice all over the world. 

A force for the conservation of nature

The MAVA Foundation has also given generously to other conservation work within the University. This has included a £8.3 million gift to help fund a new purpose built conservation campus (located within the David Attenborough Building) for the CCI, a collaboration between nine internationally-focused conservation organisations and the University of Cambridge, and a £2.5 million gift to create a unique Masters in Conservation Leadership, led by the Department of Geography and engaging all the other CCI partners. This MPhil is designed as an MBA-style programme for conservation professionals from mostly biodiversity rich but resource poor countries. 

The MAVA Foundation is a family-led, Swiss-based philanthropic foundation with an exclusive focus on the conservation of biodiversity, founded in 1994 by Dr Luc Hoffmann. He viewed the creation of the Foundation as a mechanism to support his lifelong commitment to global conservation and philanthropy. We are very saddened to share that Dr Hoffmann passed away at the Tour du Valat in the Camargue, France in July 2016. Dr Hoffmann was pivotal in creating WWF (the World Wildlife Fund for Nature), the RAMSAR Convention (an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands) and IUCN (The International Union for the Conservation of Nature), and supported many other global conservation organisations. André Hoffmann, who serves on the Cambridge Conservation Initiative Advisory Board, became MAVA President in 2010. 

The University of Cambridge and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative would like to express our sincere condolences to the Hoffmann family on their loss and our gratitude for their investment in our planet’s life support system (our biodiversity) and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.


Further reading

The Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) is a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and leading internationally-focused biodiversity conservation organisations clustered in and around Cambridge. More about CCI

Tour du Valat, based near Arles in France, is a research organisation whose aim is to halt the loss and the degradation of Mediterranean wetlands and of their natural resources, and to restore them. More about Tour du Valat


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