The LIFE ENPLC project brings together landowners and conservationists to protect and restore private land for nature and the climate across Europe.
Our project’s vital part is strengthening trust and cooperation between all stakeholders. To this end, Eurosite and ELO have established the Conservation Landowners Coalition (CLC) as a European partnership of landowners and conservationists.
We build a community of European land conservation practitioners who work together on testing and upscaling the most promising tools for private land conservation, advocating for better financial incentives, engaging citizens, and raising public awareness.
Climate breakdown and biodiversity loss constitute existential threats to land in private ownership. To preserve the land’s health and value for the next generations, we strive to support private landowners in finding the right tools, incentives, information, and contacts for the long-term conservation and restoration of nature on their properties.
We communicate best-practice approaches to private land conservation, including the involvement of volunteers and citizen scientists. We raise public awareness of the relevance of private land for reaching the EU’s biodiversity policy targets and showcase successful initiatives in peer-to-peer networks by creating a community of Private Land Conservation Ambassadors. They tell their stories to fellow private landowners and decision-makers.
The project is supported by the EU’s environmental funding programme LIFE.
Care-Peat is an Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) project with 12 partners working together to reduce carbon emissions and restore the carbon storage capacity of different types of peatlands in North-West Europe. The primary partnership comprises seven knowledge institutes and five nature organisations from Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Together with seven sub-partners and 41 associated partners, we develop and test new techniques and socio-economic strategies for carbon reduction.
Peatlands tackling climate change
Why focus on peatlands? Peatlands are not only habitats with highly specialised flora and fauna, but they also play an essential role in global climate regulation. Northern hemisphere peatlands account for 3 to 5% of total land area and contain approximately 33% of global soil carbon. Therefore peatlands have a solid natural potential to save carbon and play an essential role in nature-based solutions for climate change.
When peatlands are drained, the well-preserved carbon is released as greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That is why it is crucial to keep peatlands wet. Unfortunately, many peatlands are degraded and emit rather than store carbon. The global annual greenhouse gas emissions from drained organic soils are twice that from aviation. We must act now to prevent further degradation and encourage more recovery of our remaining peatlands.
What does Care-Peat do?
The main goal of Care-Peat is to set up and demonstrate innovative technologies for new restoration and carbon measurement techniques and involve local and regional stakeholders.
Therefore the nature organisations, together with local landowners, restore peatlands of seven different pilot sites ranging from 1 to 250 hectares and demonstrate the (potential) carbon savings of the restoration. Different restoration techniques are used for each pilot site – from manual management to growing additional peat moss. Throughout the project, the organisations are supported by the knowledge institutes that work together to develop and test new equipment, methods and models to predict carbon flows (e.g. by using drones and satellites to guide restoration and provide input for carbon models). Care-Peat also works with innovative companies in the restoration field and develops partnerships with local and regional stakeholders to increase the impact of pilots and maximise socio-economic benefits.
Important outputs of Care-Peat are publishing a management and decision support tool and a set of socio-economic models concerning the best options for peatland restoration regarding carbon storage. This way, the project results are transferred and replicated to users across North-West Europe to determine the most appropriate management measures, even after Care-Peat has ended.
In 2021, as part of the Interreg NWE Programme, the Care-Peat project was allowed to strengthen its scope with a so-called ‘capitalisation project’. The aim is to apply the project results to new areas and a new target group in North-West Europe. The approval resulted in fewer than three new partners and six new associated partners who have joined our consortium.
In the capitalisation project, we develop a unified methodology for assessing GHG emissions from peatlands that are widely applicable in North-West Europe (different peatland types and regions) and thus increase the impact of the decision support tool. Also, we will include farmers and farmer organisations as a new primary target group by engaging with them directly and incorporating best practices for carbon savings on farmland.
How much carbon can be saved?
Care-Peat is ambitious. By the end of the project in 2023, we expect that about 8137 tonnes of carbon emissions per year are prevented from losses and stored in the seven pilot sites (in total, approximately 645 hectares).
After 2023 we hope that nature conservation and other organisations all over the North-West Europe region will take further measures, resulting in the restoration of many more peatlands. And the more peatlands are restored, the more carbon is saved. This way, peatlands can become an essential natural partner in climate policies across North-West Europe.
Fully titled Multi-stakeholder Landscape and Technical Innovation leading to Peatland Ecosystem Restoration, MultiPeat aims to optimise the hydrological system of degraded peatlands of a wide range of types across five countries: Poland (PL), Germany (GE), Belgium (BE), Netherlands (NL) and Ireland (IE) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and recover the optimal conditions to restart their sequestering functions, all under the precondition of overcoming obstacles in multi-stakeholder landscapes. MultiPeat will assess the climate impact of the restoration measures by quantifying the GHG emissions and calculating the current annual GHG budgets and the potential savings in the future.
In support of the above aims, the project also aims to:
- Collect and summarise critical accumulated knowledge of past and present EU peatland projects as the first step to an EU-wide Peatland Data Portal and bring EU peatland projects together under a common platform.
- Develop a toolkit to catalogue selected EU peatland projects, policies and data, including an EU-wide Peatland Policy Catalogue, Data Portal and Policy Development Tool.
- Raise awareness of degraded peatlands’ role in global warming, and promote engagement in climate change mitigation (CCM) via peatland restoration and replication of project results and techniques.
- Contribute to the WFD and new CAP legislation by developing national reviews of CAP impact on peatlands and GHG emissions.
- Contribute to mainstreaming CAP aims by developing a business case for paludiculture and a concept for paludiculture in and as buffer zones of restored peatlands in GE and BE.
- Contribute to scaling up of peatland restoration in the project countries and beyond.
- Improve state of habitats and relevant species:
- PL: contribute to the conservation of 7110, 7120, 91D0 and 7230 habitats
- GE: to increase the integrity of fen complex habitats and improve management practices
- BE: to restore and improve habitats 7140 and 91E0*
- NL: increase the size and quality of Annex 1 habitats H7110A* and improve the quality of recovering raised bogs and their fringes (H7120), natural dystrophic lakes and ponds (H3160), wet heathlands (H4010A) and their associated species
- IE: to restore blanket bog habitats and improve management practices for long-term blanket bog habitat improvement
- To establish in all project sites systems more robust and resilient to climate change (e.g. droughts, high temperatures).
- To replicate successful techniques implemented (e.g. calculating GHGs in heterogeneous nature areas).
- IE: Analysis of the GHG saving potential of co-located peatlands and renewable energy.
LIFE European Land Conservation Network (ELCN)
The European Private Land Conservation Network is a LIFE Preparatory project and an initiative of the European Commission.
The project is being coordinated by NABU (Germany). Besides Eurosite, other project partners are Xarxa de Custòdia del Territori (XCT) (Spain), Natuurpunt (Belgium), Montis (Portugal), Fundacion Biodiversidad (Spain), Fundatia ADEPT (Romania), ELY Centre Lapland (Finland), IMA Europe (EU) and WWF Oasi (Italy).
The project’s final goal is quite ambitious: establishing a European Land Conservation Network (ELCN), with Eurosite acting as the secretariat that will be charged with the long-term management of the network after the project has ended.
LIFE Nardus and Limosa
The project’s central objective is the cross-border restoration of meadow-heathland systems rich in Nardus grasslands (6230*) with healthy meadow bird populations. The five project areas are the best areas in the Campine region where somewhat nutrient-richer heath systems occur, with many grassland birds. The LIFE project Nardus & Limosa focuses on studying, testing and implementing a P-mining method that considers breeding birds. The project focuses on restoring 255 ha of Nardus grasslands (6230*), which are rich in the typical meadow birds. At the same time, as a result of diverse hydrology, geomorphology, and soil, inland dunes grasslands (2310 and 2330), wet heaths (4010), and to a more limited extent, dry heaths (4030) will be restored in close interdependence with the Nardus grasslands.
Nature and Cities
Specific objectives of the project Nature and Cities (awarded under Europe Aid funding for Supporting Civil Society Dialogue Between the EU and Turkey) are to enhance dialogue, know-how transfer and cooperation between civil society organisations of both Turkey and The Netherlands on environmental and sustainable development within the scope of EU acquisition and policies on the environment. Additionally, it aims to promote nature-based solutions and green infrastructure in cities as an effective tool for raising awareness of the environment. This is also of importance to the potential EU membership of Turkey. The project is led by the Turkish Nature Conservation Centre (DKM). To sum up, the primary goals, outcomes and results are:
- Improved knowledge of nature-based solutions and green infrastructure in Turkey through the experience of EU member states (The Netherlands)
- Enhanced dialogue and cooperation between Turkish stakeholders from various sectors to promote nature-based solutions and green infrastructure in cities
- Joint agreements signed between CSOs in Turkey and The Netherlands for sustainable and long-term cooperation on nature-based solutions and green infrastructure in cities
- Awareness was raised in Turkey and The Netherlands on nature-based solutions and green infrastructure.
The ‘Evidence-Based Improvements in the Nature Directives’ is to advise the European Commission, Member State authorities and other stakeholders on better use of scientific knowledge and networks to support the implementation of the nature directives. This project shall mobilise the scientific community to support better and more effective implementation of the EU nature legislation. The two critical aspects of this are to make better use of scientific knowledge and networks and to mobilise the scientific community, both in support of the outcome of the Fitness Check – which requires better and more effective implementation of the EU nature legislation. The lead partner is Wageningen Environmental Research.
Farmer’s Pride, a project funded under Horizon 2020 and led by the University of Birmingham, is establishing the European Network for In Situ Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources. It will bring together stakeholders and sites across the region and coordinate actions to conserve diversity for crop enhancement and adaptation in the future.
Farmer’s Pride will:
build relationships between existing diverse PGR stakeholder networks, and where necessary, create new partnerships to establish a unified network of stakeholders involved in PGR conservation and sustainable use;
enhance existing knowledge of European land-race and crop wild relative genetic diversity and showcase how it can be effectively secured and managed;
use social science and economic tools to establish the value of in situ PGR populations and individual traits, as well as a cost-effective means of conserving them;
use predictive characterisation methods to identify valuable features in situ PGR populations, targeting those most vital for satisfying future agricultural and market needs;
establish a mechanism to facilitate the flow of plant genetic material from in situ populations to the user community, both directly and via ex situ collections;
develop and establish a durable governance and resourcing structure for the European network of in situ PGR conservation sites and stakeholders;
promote public awareness of the value of PGR for agriculture and consumers; and
design and implement a network of European sites and stakeholders that conserves the breadth of PGR diversity found in situ.
Through these activities, Farmer’s Pride will significantly strengthen European capacities for the conservation, management and sustainable use of in situ PGR as a foundation for increased competitiveness in the farming and breeding sectors and ultimately for long-term food and nutritional security in Europe.