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Restoring landscapes for life

On October 4, 2018, The Endangered Landscapes Programme has been established thanks to a US$30 million investment from Arcadia charitable fund. We are excited that our Polesia project will receive a 5-year funding as one of their selected projects.

Europe's Amazon
It is not surprising that the Polesia region is also known as "Amazon of Europe". This aerial photo of the River Pripyat and its surrounding floodplain meadows, wetlands and oxbow lakes.

Following a thorough selection process, the ELP has selected a suite of ambitious projects to receive funding, an FZS-project among them. Over the next 5 years, all selected projects will receive funding and will work to restore natural processes to a diverse range of habitats in Europe.

In the more then five million hectare “Prypiat Polesia” area in Belarus and Ukraine FZS aims to enlarge and establish new protected areas of more than 100,000 hectares and improve the management of existing conservation areas to eventually to create a protected and interconnected core area of 1.2 Mio ha within the transboundary Polesia region. This will help to ensure ecological connectivity for key species such as wolf, moose, European bison and greater spotted eagle. More about the project here.

Viktar Fenchuk who leads the FZS programme in Belarus jointly with the BirdLife Partner APB – BirdLife Belarus is glad for the funding: “That grant will allow the long-term protection of one of Europe’s largest natural landscapes! It is also known as “Amazon of Europe” and with its massive mires and floodplains and is of great importance for some of Europe’s rarest bird species such as Aquatic Warbler or Greater Spotted Eagle but also a stronghold for wolf, lynx.”

Other selected restoration projects include a Fauna & Flora International project on theTurkish Mediterranean coast, a Fundatia Conservation Carpathia project in the Romanian Carpathiansand a BirdLife International project in Georgia to name only a few. The projects will provide a powerful demonstration of nature’s powers of recovery – and of the benefits to be won from restoring biodiversity and natural ecosystem processes to Europe’s landscapes.


Returning predatory sandbar sharks and Mediterranean monk seals to the seas off the coast of Turkey; creating opportunities for key species such as wolf, moose, European bison and greater spotted eagle to move more freely in the vast “Prypiat Polesia” area of Belarus and Ukraine; aiding the recovery of ravaged forests and establishing one of Europe’s largest wilderness areas in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania – These are just some examples of what the Endangered Landscapes Programme (ELP) hopes to achieve by providing existing projects with the necessary funds. By adopting an optimistic, innovative and progressive approach to conservation, the selected projects will implement pioneering restoration approaches to Europe’s degraded landscapes, for the benefit of both nature and people. 

Centuries of land-use in Europe have led to the fragmentation and degradation of natural habitat. As a result species have been lost, and the landscapes have a much reduced capacity to adapt to climate change and the ability of habitats to provide essential goods and services is diminished.

Additional Information

The Endangered Landscape Programme is managed by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and aims to giving space back to nature, so that ecological processes recover, ecosystem services increase, and species populations grow – and in so-doing making places – whether cities, forests or fens – more natural, richer in biodiversity and more dynamic, for the benefit of nature and people. The programme aims to restore processes, populations and habitats for a better and more sustainable future. It signals a shift away from ‘slowing declines’ and ‘no net loss’ to a more positive and creative agenda in which the potential of our land and seas is recognised.

Arcadia is a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. It supports charities and scholarly institutions that preserve cultural heritage and the environment. Arcadia also supports projects that promote open access and all of its awards are granted on the condition that any materials produced are made available for free online. Since 2002, Arcadia has awarded more than $500 million to projects around the world.