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Expanding the Toolbox for Conservation, from Canada to South Africa's Western Cape

We at the ILCN office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as our partners in locations spanning the globe -- from Canada to Northern California, Chile and the Renosterveld area (literally translated from Afrikaans to mean “Rhinoceros Field”) in the Western Cape of South Africa -- have been making progress in identifying ways to creatively conserve our treasured landscapes. 

First, here’s a rundown on what we are working on in Cambridge.

Laura Johnson, ILCN Director, is in the San Francisco Bay area in California participating in the Chile-California Conservation Exchange, meeting with practitioners and policy leaders from these two remarkably similar areas (for more information on this peer exchange, see our story below).

We have also been preparing to take representatives from the newly formed European Private Land Conservation Network (ELCN) on a study tour in Colorado, USA in advance of the US Land Trust Alliance Rally.

At Rally, the ILCN will be hosting a breakfast for international participants and all other interested Rally attendees to share advancements in private land conservation around the world. This will be a forum to learn about opportunities and challenges to protecting land outside the US and to meet other land conservationists from around the world. If you are attending Rally and would like to join us for breakfast on Friday, October 27 from 7:00 am – 8:20 am, please email Emily Myron as soon as possible.

And, of course, ILCN staff have been busy planning the 2018 Global Congress, From Communities to Countries: Visionary Conservation in a Changing World, to be held in Santiago, Chile January 24-26, 2018. We received over 60 proposals and are excited about all of the great ideas being brought to the Congress. Many thanks to all those who submitted proposals - we are in the process of following up with you and will be in touch shortly (if we have not been already).

We are very excited for all the new friends, great conversations, and creative ideas and actions that will come out of these events! We would also like to extend our thanks to all who have helped to make these events possible. Looking forward to seeing many of you over the next few months!
In this newsletter:
Highlights from the ILCN
We are excited to share stories from ILCN members. If you have a successful conservation initiative, story, event, or webinar to share, then please contact us at

Chile-California Conservation Exchange

with text excerpted and adapted from the Chile-California Conservation Exchange conference booklet.

The ILCN is proud to support the Chile-California Conservation Exchange, being hosted this week by the California Council of Land Trusts, and organized by Ralph Benson former executive director of the Sonoma Land Trust in California. Inspired by the gorgeous symmetry of the mountain, valley, and coastal landscapes of Chile and California, and by parallel efforts to protect and restore these landscapes, the Chile-California Conservation Exchange is an effort to advance land conservation in Chile and California and to connect Chilean and Californians working to protect land.

Right now, about 20 Chilean conservation leaders (legislators, lawyers, landowners, and NGOs) are in the middle of a three-and-a-half-day trip to Sonoma County, California to meet with their Californian counterparts. Through site visits, presentations, and discussions, Chilean and Californian attendees will discuss land protection incentives, laws, institutions, practices and climate change strategies in both Chile and California.

As a continuing part of the exchange some of the California participants will travel to Chile in January 2018 to advance the discussions initiated at this conference. The Chile meeting will be scheduled in coordination with the ILCN’s 2018 Global Congress. 

Ultimately, the Chile-California Conservation Exchange is intended to lay the groundwork for ongoing, mutually rewarding collaborations among conservation leaders engaged in the protection of private and public land in Chile and California. ILCN director Laura Johnson is participating in the exchange and reports that the meeting is exceeding expectations for a lively and very useful exchange of information which is sure to continue into the future.

First conservation easement signed in Critically Endangered Renosterveld

Five and a half years ago, the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust (ORCT) was formed to secure the long-term conservation and management of remaining fragments of Renosterveld through active partnerships with landowners, conservation authorities and NGOs in the Overberg, South Africa. Today, they have successfully adapted a tool that has the potential to help them to accomplish this critical mission.

Renosterveld is a critically endangered habitat type found in the fertile, clay-based soils of the low-lying areas of South Africa’s Western Cape. One of the richest Mediterranean ecosystems in the world, the Renosterveld is home to extraordinary plant diversity. However, due to overlap with desirable farming areas, 95% of the Renosterveld’s area has been irreversibly converted to croplands. The remaining patches still maintain endemic species; however, many are poorly managed and under threat of conversion.

In order to protect this unique landscape, the ORCT has worked with WWF South Africa, Cape Nature, BirdLife South Africa, and other partners to adapt the American conservation easement to the South African context. This tool allows for ORCT and other organizations to sign agreements with landowners that protect their land in perpetuity and that are attached to the deed of the property.

The easement is designed to complement existing conservation tools, including South Africa’s unique and important Biodiversity Stewardship Programme. By using an easement, NGOs can fill gaps in the conservation effort by working with landowners who are unable to enter into an agreement with Cape Nature, who run the province’s biodiversity stewardship programme, or when Cape Nature doesn’t have the capacity to take on additional properties into the programme. By using biodiversity stewardship side-by-side with easements, landowners in the Renosterveld can choose the tool that is most appropriate for their circumstances.

When landowners donate an easement, the easement is placed over the entire farm, with areas demarcated for conservation and agriculture; the land does not need to be rezoned, as is the case with other protected area proclamations. The ORCT then works with the landowner to develop and carry out a management plan for their property. The plan identifies priority management interventions, and the ORCT then contributes towards the costs of some of these interventions – herein lies the incentive for the landowner. This contribution can range from ORCT purchasing fencing material, to clearing invasive alien vegetation, to carrying out controlled burns. The hope is that by reducing management costs for landowners, they will be willing to manage their land in a way that is conducive to the well being of the Renosterveld. ORCT also hopes that landowners will come to see the value of conserving these important local natural habitats.

In early 2017, the first landowner in the Renosterverld signed an easement with WWF South Africa, with ORCT serving as the management authority; thus protecting 370 hectares of the largest area of Western Rûens Shale Renosterveld left in the world. ORCT is now working with willing landowners to put easements on the largest, most connected patches of remaining Renosterveld. Already, ORCT has signed an easement with another landowner, protecting an additional 200 hectares, and several more easements are in process.

The South African government is not yet counting easement land toward national biodiversity targets; however, there is an effort to have them recognized as an important and legitimate tool for biodiversity conservation. This will be especially important now that numerous organizations across the country are now exploring how they might use easements to advance their own conservation goals. In a country where 80% of the land is under private ownership, the easement has tremendous potential to complement existing tools, allowing for additional flexibility in advancing joint conservation goals.

For more information on the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust’s work, please contact Dr. Odette Curtis, Director of ORCT at 

Canada Land Trusts Revise Standards and Practices
with text excerpted and adapted from the Canadian Land Trust Alliance website

The Canadian Land Trust Alliance (CLTA), with support from the Nature Conservancy of Canada, is currently facilitating an update of the Canadian Land Trust Standards and Practices (CLT S&P).
Originally created and adopted in 2005, the CLT S&P are the ethical and technical guidelines for the responsible operation of a land trust in Canada (the 2005 S&Ps are available here). The 2005 CLT S&P modified the 2004 version of the US Land Trust Standards and Practices for the Canadian legal context (with the authorization of the Land Trust Alliance (LTA)), setting 12 broad standards, which are broken down into 91 practices.

All land trusts operating in Canada are invited to voluntarily adopt the CLT S&P and commit to putting them into effect. Implementing the CLT S&P directly helps land trusts to uphold public trust and build strong and effective land conservation programs. Securing the confidence and support of donors and landowners is the way for land conservation to succeed and land trusts to last over the long term. All land trusts must demonstrate effectiveness and credibility. Otherwise, land trusts that fall short could undermine the whole conservation movement by eroding the confidence of donors and partners.

In February 2017, the US LTA released a major revision of the US Land Trust Standards and Practices. To maintain alignment of best practices for land conservation with the most current internationally recognized standards, while ensuring the CLT S&P stay tailored to Canada’s context, the CLTA is leading a revision of the CLT S&P. The revised document will offer a clear framework for presenting the practices that engage more land trusts in a process of continuous improvement according to their size, needs and aspirations.

The revision process will involve input from the Canadian land trust community, as well as associated professionals (auditors, appraisers, lawyers, tax experts, etc.), and is expected to continue through February 2018.

There is significant interest across the ILCN community in developing and adopting S&P in a range of countries. The Canadian process may serve as an example for some nations that use similar tools and legal systems. However, as the US and Canadian S&P are written primarily for a charitable organization governance structure, they may not fit all privately protected area contexts. At the ILCN’s Global Congress, a panel will explore the importance of S&P, as well as start thinking through how existing S&P may be adapted so that they are applicable to the wider community.

To learn more about the process of reviewing the Canadian Land Trust Standards and Practices, please see this website:


Lance Gloss
Lance Gloss joined the ILCN as an intern in the summer of 2017. Originally from Fort Collins, CO, Lance is a senior in the Urban Studies Program at Brown University, where he is writing his undergraduate thesis on land and housing rights in the US. He is also the Editor of the Urban Journal at Brown, an archivist in the Brown Herbarium, and a lover of bicycles.
As an intern with the ILCN, Lance conducts research on the role of civic and private sector in creating and managing protected areas. This project, which is in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, seeks to review policy, finance, and management tools that enable the creation of privately protected areas in thirty countries around the world. Final country profiles and a summary report will detail patterns in land-use and land law relevant to landowners and organizations interested in advancing conservation. Hopefully, this information will open new doors for collaboration among conservationists worldwide as they work toward meeting national and international protected area and biodiversity targets.
Multilingual and an avid adventurer, Lance believes in the power of international cooperation in solving the shared challenges of sustainable development and climate resilience. His passion for land conservation derives from a lifetime of interest in ecology and the outdoors, and from solidarity with past, present, and future generations on planet Earth.

To connect with Lance, email him at
Upcoming Events:

Australian National Private Land Conservation Conference
October 18-20, 2017, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

This year's Conference theme "Valuing Nature" will provide the context to explore diverse aspects of value, from natural capital and ecosystem services, to community and cultural connections, and the inherent value of nature for its own sake. Join conservation practitioners, business leaders, scientists, land managers, policy makers, philanthropists, community champions and academics from across Australia and beyond to discuss the value of nature on private land, and how these benefits are measured and communicated. Topics covered will include natural capital, communication and education, conservation policy and the law, land management, and monitoring and evaluation. 

More information is available here.

2017 Ontario Land Trust Alliance gathering
October 19-20, 2017, Alliston, Ontario Canada

The OLTA Land Trust Gathering is the annual training, skills development and networking conference bringing together land trust and other conservation professionals from across Ontario. Conference participants benefit from workshops and plenary sessions. 

More information is available here.


Land Trust Alliance Rally 2017

October 26-28, 2017, Denver, Colorado, USA

Nearly 2,000 land conservation practitioners from the US, Canada, South America and beyond will convene in Denver to discuss dedicated to conserving cherished places in local communities. More than 130 educational sessions will be on offer, covering land conservation topics, special networking events, field trips highlighting the region’s natural treasures, exhibits, a plenary session presentation, a Welcome Dinner and an awards presentation celebrating conservation leadership. If you are attending Rally and would like to join the ILCN for an International Breakfast on Friday, October 27 from 7:00 am – 8:20 am, please email Emily Myron as soon as possible.

More information on Rally is available here.

World Forum on Natural Capital
November 27-28, 2017, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Business leaders, government representatives and environmental experts from around the world will gather in Edinburgh this November for the third World Forum on Natural Capital. The World Forum will once again provide an opportunity for senior decision makers to explore how risk can be turned into opportunity by putting natural capital at the heart of their strategy.

More information is available here.

See more on the ILCN's Calendar of Events.
Many thanks to our content contributors: Emily Myron (Project Manager, International Land Conservation Network), Ralph Benson (Co-organizer, Chile-California Conservation Exchange), Dr. Odette Curtis (Director, Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust), Lisa McLaughlin (Vice-President of Conservation Policy & Planning, Nature Conservancy of Canada), and Lance Gloss (Intern, International Land Conservation Network).

September 2017
The mission of the International Land Conservation Network is to connect organizations and people around the world that are accelerating voluntary private and civic sector action that protects and stewards land and water resources. 
Learn more at

The ILCN in a project of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
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