The first thematic workshop of the LIFE ELCN Project was held in Rovaniemi, Finland, on 14-15 June 2018. The workshop focused on the legal tools for private land conservation in Europe and was hosted by the Finnish project partner Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Lapland (LAPELY).
During the first day we were focusing on conservation easements, and the second day was dedicated to the concept of privately protected areas. The workshop was well attended (29 participants from 15 countries) and has raised the interest of participants.
Some of the main lessons learnt are that national legal frameworks might be very different, but experience sharing is very important when trying to develop conservation easements and land stewardship agreements, or to establish privately protected areas (PPAs). It was interesting to realise how many countries are actually having easements recognised as a possible tool, even if these are not used to the full extent.
While some countries have more similarities than others, a lot of work still needs to be done at legal level to be able to make a European approach to the subject. There will not be a ‘one size fits all solution’. Legal tools (in particular those similar to conservation easements) to support private land conservation are needed, but the legal tools will most likely differ from one Member State to the other. There could be a clear role for a network such as ELCN to facilitate this.
It was good to see that there is interest in the topic from across Europe and that the participants really appreciated the opportunity to network.
An additional dimension that is necessary to support private land conservation in Europe are incentives (including tax and financial incentives). That is why this will be the topic of the next workshop ELCN is organising in November this year.