The Endangered Landscapes Programme awarded second phase of funding to restore more landscapes in Europe

The Endangered Landscapes Programme (ELP) is thrilled to announce a second phase of funding from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.

The ELP, managed by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, supports a vision for Europe’s land and seascapes in which biodiversity and ecosystem processes are restored for the benefit of people and nature.

Humanity’s dependence on healthy landscapes to provide us with clean air and water, to feed us, to offer inspiration and connection with nature, is more apparent than ever. Europe has suffered, and continues to suffer, from ecological decline, from biodiversity loss and erosion of ecosystem services to the degradation and fragmentation of habitats on a massive scale.

The ELP was established in 2016, thanks to an inaugural award of $30 million (£23 million) from Arcadia. The large-scale restoration projects across Europe that it funds, demonstrate the potential for nature to recover. Building on the success of this first phase, the Programme has received a further gift of $34.9million (£26m) thanks to the generosity of Arcadia and their trusted relationship with the University of Cambridge and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI).

Arcadia has long supported conservation efforts and has awarded more than $300 million in environmental grants since 2002. Their mission to safeguard and restore biodiversity on land and sea is shared by CCI — a unique collaboration between nine conservation organisations and the University of Cambridge seeking to transform biodiversity conservation. By catalysing strategic partnerships between leaders in research, education, policy, and practice, CCI aims to transform the global understanding and conservation of biodiversity to secure a sustainable future for nature and society.

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The ELP was established in 2016 thanks to inaugural funding from Arcadia, and officially launched in October 2018. Photo: Toby Smith.

The ELP was established in 2016 thanks to inaugural funding from Arcadia, and officially launched in October 2018. Photo: Toby Smith.

Projects currently being funded by the ELP are already showing the benefits to be won from restoring nature at the landscape-scale. For example, in the Danube delta, dam removal is restoring river connectivity, improving river flow for migratory fish species, and allowing restored vegetation to support spawning grounds. The translocation of keystone species like water buffalo, konik horses, kulan and the eagle owl, is helping to create a diverse mosaic of habitats for other species, as well as providing opportunities for nature-based tourism.

"We are extremely grateful to Arcadia for providing this second phase of funding for the Endangered Landscapes Programme. Through this flagship programme, the Cambridge Conservation Initiative is restoring vital landscapes and ensuring the future of biodiversity across swathes of Europe."
— Professor Stephen J Toope, Vice-Chancellor

On the coast of Southwest Turkey, a project has restored caves used as breeding habitat by the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal, and in northern Portugal, teams are working to extend the range of native roe deer populations to support the Endangered Iberian wolf and help reduce predation on domestic livestock like sheep and cattle.

All of these initiatives are underpinned by capacity development, lesson-learning, and robust monitoring to determine what does and does not work in restoration, with results made available through open access to help build knowledge in the wider restoration field.

Aerial photo of the Danube delta
Horses leaving a truck

“All of us at Arcadia are inspired and encouraged by the progress that the Endangered Landscapes Programme has achieved to date, and especially by the motivation and commitment of the project teams working to realise the programme’s vision. Their projects illustrate the variety of landscapes that exist across Europe, and the tremendous potential offered by the restoration of their natural wealth.

We look forward to seeing the next generation of projects come to fruition, working together with communities, organisations, and local governments to restore resilient, self-sustaining landscapes that benefit both nature and people.”

Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, Arcadia’s founders

This major philanthropic funding sends a strong signal for the importance of restoration in Europe, and beyond, and comes at an opportune time given the UN’s decision to make 2021–2030 a ‘Decade on Ecosystem Restoration’.

"With this additional funding, the ELP can ensure that more landscapes are protected and restored, support the recovery of key species and natural processes, help create sustainable, nature-based economies, contribute to climate change mitigation, and provide more opportunities for people to reconnect with nature."
— David Thomas, Endangered Landscapes Programme Director

The ELP is immensely grateful to Arcadia for their generosity and looks forward to sharing the positive stories and outcomes enabled by this additional funding.

To find out more about the Endangered Landscapes Programme, please visit their website:
www.endangeredlandscapes.org


To find out more about how you can support conservation research at Cambridge, please contact:

Isobel Cohen
Senior Associate Director – School of Technology

Email: isobel.cohen@admin.cam.ac.uk