Case Studies

Posted: 08 September 2020

Large-scale habitat restoration projects across Europe

  • Programme:

    Protecting endangered nature

  • Focus area:

    On-site conservation

  • Grantee:

    Cambridge Conservation Initiative

  • Project:

    Endangered Landscapes & Seascapes Programme

  • Grant awarded:


  • Years:


The Endangered Landscapes & Seascapes Programme (ELSP, formally the Endangered Landscapes Programme) supports large-scale restoration projects across Europe’s land and seas. Managed in partnership with the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, it aims to create large, connected landscapes, recover ecosystem processes, and promote more sustainable local economies.

The ELSP works to create extensive areas of habitat that are resilient and self-sustaining. ELSP projects work to reverse biodiversity loss, revive rural economies and provide inspiration for a shift in the policy and practice of nature conservation.

We set up the programme in 2016. So far, it has supported 41 projects, including 13 large-scale restoration projects. Together, the ELSP projects are actively restoring more than 150,000 hectares of land and sea across Europe, from Georgia’s steppes, to Finland’s peatlands, and the Danube delta, and influencing land management of more than 4.5 million hectares.

In 2023 we renewed our grant, extending the ELSP to a further seven years, and expanding it’s remit: almost half of our $72m grant will be dedicated to efforts to restore Europe’s seas and costal areas. Over the coming years, it the ELSP will support for up to eight new seascape restoration projects.

“We cannot ignore evidence of catastrophic biodiversity loss and climate change any longer. CCI gathers evidence to devise, advocate for and implement solutions to these problems. The Endangered Landscapes Programme is one such solution. By helping restore large areas of land and sea, we expect it will heal landscapes, turning degraded habitats that emit carbon into carbon sinks and helping nature thrive. And it will do this at scale – its projects together form an area of 1.5 million hectares. We must do all we can to fight climate breakdown: restoring and protecting habitats is a powerful way to do this, bringing new hope to the communities that live and work in these endangered, but promising, landscapes.” Dr Lisbet Rausing, Co-founder of the Arcadia Fund

Cairngorms Connect – restoring 60,000 ha of contiguous land in the Scottish Highlands. Photo by James Shooter -
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