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Cambridge Conservation Initiative

Endangered Landscape Programme

$31,746,100; 2016–2023

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The Endangered Landscapes Programme (ELP) supports large-scale restoration projects across Europe. A regranting programme, managed in partnership with the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, it aims to create large, connected landscapes, recover ecosystem processes, and promote more sustainable local economies.

Biodiversity, the variety of all life forms, is in global decline. Humanity’s increasing pressure on natural resources, through forestry and agriculture intensification, urbanization and the expansion of transport infrastructure, has led to fragmentation, degradation and loss of habitats. In Europe, 70% of all species are threatened by habitat loss, with climate change further compounding the threat. Vital ecosystem services that provide us with clean air, fresh water, food and fuel, and protect us from the worst effects of floods and storms, are decreasing. This has a massive cost to society and nature.

Much of conventional conservation aims to preserve relatively small pockets of disconnected habitat, that require intensive, resource-expensive management to maintain their biodiversity value. With nowhere to move to, species contained in these areas are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Traditional ‘protect and manage’ approaches to conservation try to preserve and slow the decline, but a more ambitious approach is also needed. When barriers are removed, and nature is given space to recover, it can create extensive areas of habitat that are resilient and self-sustaining.

Throughout Europe, economic, political and social changes provide opportunities to adopt a new approach of ecosystem restoration at landscape-scale. The ELP introduces a positive agenda for action, in which landscapes restoration reverses biodiversity loss, revives rural economies and provides inspiration for a shift in the policy and practice of nature conservation.

In mid 2018, the ELP’s Oversight and Selection Panel approved eight projects that illustrate the transformation that is possible when nature is given space to recover. The projects showcase the extraordinary diversity and richness of Europe’s landscapes. They will work with local communities to create large, connected landscapes that allow species to adapt to environmental stresses and grow and promote sustainable local economies and livelihoods.

Learn more about our environmental grants.

  • Cairngorms Connect – restoring 60,000 ha of contiguous land in the Scottish Highlands. Photo by James Shooter/
  • Restoring 500km of vulnerable Mediterranean coast from Gökova Bay to Cape Gelidonya, Turkey. Photo by Zafer Kizilkaya, courtesy of the Endangered Landscapes Programme.
  • VIew from rocky outcrop into Pumlumon Fawr, Cambrian Mountains, Wales. Photo by Peter Cairns/Wild Media Foundation.
  • Establishing Europe’s largest wilderness reserve in the Făgăraș Mountains in the South Central Carpathians, Romania. Photo by Dan Dinu, courtesy of the Endangered Landscapes Programme.
  • White pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) Danube Delta rewilding area, Romania. Photo by Steffen Widstand, Rewilding Europe
  • Restoring gallery forest and grasslands in the Iori River Valley, Georgia. Photo by Giorgi Ianqoshvili. Courtesy of the Endangered Landscapes Programme.
  • The River Pripyat, in Polesie, Belarus. The river and its surrounding floodplain meadows, wetlands and oxbow lakes is an extremely important site for migrating birds who stop to feed before continuing their migration. © Daniel Rosengren, Frankfurt Zoological Society
  • Abernethy Forest, Scotland, with the Cairngorm mountain range behind. Photo by James Shooter Courtesy of the Endangered Landscapes Programme.
  • The Greater Côa Valley, Portugal. Photo courtesy of Juan Carlos Muñoz - Rewilding Europe