European Land Conservation Network to be LIFE project's legacy
Representatives of the LandLife project (LIFE10 INF/ES/000540 ), were amongst the more than 100 people from around the world who participated in the 2nd International Land Conservation Network (ILCN) Congress , in Berlin from 19-21 October 2015.
The congress saw participating organisations from the EU create a European chapter of the ILCN: the European Land Conservation Network (ELCN). This marked a key step towards achieving the LandLife project’s vision that, by 2020, land stewardship will become a widely accepted land management approach on all kinds of landscapes across Europe for helping to preserve Europe’s natural beauty and resources.
The European congress delegates exchanged experiences with long-established land trust organisations in the USA and Canada, and with countries like South Africa and Chile that are in the process of building land trust systems. Participants agreed that, while conserving the grassroots approach at local level, the ELCN would also have to define and harmonise EU-wide standards and practices, provide legal guidance at national level, and help build trust between the nature conservation community and private landowners.
The Congress also featured a keynote video from Daniel Calleja, Director-General of the Directorate General for Environment of the European Commission (DG ENV), underlining the importance of land stewardship as a nature conservation tool and the LIFE programme's role in its promotion.
LIFE projects presented demonstrations and best practice examples of land stewardship mechanisms at the congress, whilst a session was dedicated to EU nature conservation policy and two recent LIFE publications on land stewardship: Alternative Ways to Support Private Land Conservation and LIFE and Land Stewardship.
The LandLife project (LIFE10 INF/ES/000540), which ran from September 2011 to December 2014, promoted land stewardship or land trust mechanisms among landowners, conservation bodies, and local and regional governments, as a means of conserving biodiversity and natural heritage and also to open up new opportunities for rural development such as ecotourism.
Land stewardship agreements complement legal conservation obligations on privately-owned land. They comprise mechanisms such as compensation payments for abstaining from biodiversity-unfriendly practices and active conservation measures implemented by third parties or the landowners themselves. LandLife also trained organisations and raised awareness of land stewardship among the general public.
The project’s work culminated in the Barcelona Declaration on Land Stewardship, at the first European Land Stewardship Congress, which laid the foundations for a European network to continue the LIFE project’s work. The Spanish, French and Italian partners of the LandLife project have continued to promote land stewardship in the EU.
This text has been extracted from the published in the LIFE Programme website.