Last week the IUCN National committee of the Netherlands and the World Land Trust hosted the first symposium on "Land Purchase as an Intervention Strategy for Biodiversity Conservation". Fourteen representatives of organisations from around the world, and funded by the hosts, gathered in a small hotel inside a Dutch national park to compare and exchange experiences.
John Burton, the WLT's CEO said "Having been to many meetings and symposia over the years, I can confidently say this was by far the most productive I have ever attended. All the participants were enthusiastic, and all very much involved in all aspects of the discussions." The topics discussed included how to make reserves financially viable, strategies for fundraising, and how the organisations could learn from each other. The World Land Trust has agreed to host a website where the case studies and other information made available will be posted, giving other organisations involved in land purchase access to the experiences.
A particularly exciting aspect, from the World Land Trust perspective, was the enthusiasm of all the organisations present to be involved in restoration ecology. The WLT is funding numerous small projects that involve reforestation on buffer zones around protected areas, and also using such projects to reconnect isolated fragments of wilderness that are important for biodiversity.
The meeting was organised by Kirsty Burgess (email@example.com) and Marc Hoogeslag (firstname.lastname@example.org). Information about applying for grants for land purchase projects through the "IUCN-NL Small Grants for the Purchase of Nature Programme" can be accessed at www.iucn.nl/english/funds/purchase/, and information on World Land Trust projects and its Selection Criteria, can be found at www.worldlandtrust.org/projects/current-projects.htm.
Attendees, front row, l to r: Kirsty Burgess (Programmes Manager, WLT), Victoria Maldonado (CODEF, Chile), Edilberto Romero (Programme for Belize), Jose Maria Musmeci (Fundacion Patagonia Natural), Clara Solano (Fundacion Natura Colombia), Vivien Burton (Head of Publications, WLT), Raquel Locke (REGUA, Brazil), Dr P S Easa (Wildlife Trust of India), Nicholas Locke (REGUA). Back row, l to r: Eric von Horstman (Pro-Bosque, Ecuador), Alberto Yanosky (GUYRA Paraguay), Ollie Blakeman (Carbon Consultant, WLT), Marc Hoogeslag (IUCN Netherlands), Saajke Hazenburg (IUCN-NL Volunteer) Benno Glauser (Iniciativa Amotocodie, Paraguay), Marco Cerezo (Fundaeco, Guatemala), Andy Maclean (Interpreter), Antony Kiragu (Nature Kenya), Mark Gruin (Facilitator), Gerry Ledesma (Philippines Reef & Rainforest Conservation Foundation and Roberto Pedraza (Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda, Mexico). Not on the photograph: Francisco (Pancho) Sornoza (Jocotoco Foundation, Ecuador)