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International Land Conservation Network Newsletter, June 2019
Edited by Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, Project Coordinator for Land Conservation Programs
at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy,

Call for Proposals for the
2020 Global Congress of the ILCN and ELCN

We invite you to submit a proposal for a presentation, workshop, or panel discussion for the 2020 Global Congress hosted by the International Land Conservation Network (ILCN) and the European Land Conservation Network (ELCN) . Proposals selected by the 2020 Global Congress conference organizers will be presented to an audience of private and civic land conservation practiitioners  and decision-makers in Barcelona, Spain on April 20-22, 2020.

You can view the complete Call for Proposals on the ILCN website.

Proposals for presentations, workshops, or collaborative panels can be submitted in one of five areas of interest (conference tracks). These include:

  • Conservation Finance
  • Law & Policy
  • Organization & Governance
  • Land Restoration
  • Stewardship & Management
Participation in the 2020 Congress, which will be attended by conservation practitioners and experts from around the world, will not require any registration fee. The deadline for proposal submissions is August 31, 2019.


First national meeting of the Italian Network of Private Natural Areas held in Orbetello, Tuscany

On April 3-5, 2019 the first national meeting of the Italian Network of Private Natural Areas was held in Orbetello, Tuscany. The meeting celebrated the network's launch. Participants gathered to share experiences and tackle common problems they face going forward. The event was organized by WWF Oasis, a project partner of the European Land Conservation Network (ELCN). 

Twenty organizations participated in the meeting. Participants included landowners, foundations and non-governmental organizations that manage 33 natural and semi-natural areas encompassing approximately 35,000 hectares. In addition to sharing common experiences, participants expressed their common commitment to protecting and educating the public regarding the biodiversity and cultural heritage that they actively conserve.

The diversity of participants at the meeting was impressive, ranging from students who attended a conservation finance workshop at the University of Bologna to representatives of large organizations such as: the World Wide Fund for Nature;  LEGA (Lega Italiana Protezione Uccielli, the Italian affiliate of Birdlife): and FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano, the Italian National Trust).

Participants were very satisfied with the initiative because, for the first time, they were able to meet with other owners and managers of private natural areas. They were stimulated by the opportunity to discuss in small groups such varied themes as water management, self-financing, and often-controversial relationships with public bodies. 

The meeting ended with a discussion of: how to define the new network and its goals and objectives; how to work together to include other owners and organizations; how to best continue the exchange of experiences in other regions of Italy; and how to finance the operations of various organizations. The examples and good practices collected in the meeting will be disseminated at the Italian and European levels. The network aims to develop guidelines for its members that can be replicated successfully elsewhere.

More information about the Italian
Network of Private Natural Areas can be found on its Facebook page:

Further information on the ELCN and instructions for subscribing to its newsletter can be found at

For more information regarding the Italian Network of Private Natural Areas, contact the Project Team leads Stefano Picchi ( and Francesco Marcone (

A modest, significant act of civic engagement: Dorji's good deed

By James N. Levitt

As it approaches the third decade of the twenty-first century, the Asian nation of Bhutan is slated to graduate to status as a “Middle Income” country. By 2023, multi-lateral institutions such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank, as well as bilateral and civic development donors, will increasingly expect the “land of the Thunder Dragon” to become responsible for its own welfare and finances. As a Middle Income country, Bhutan will need to continue to depend largely on hydroelectric power and tourism revenues as engines of continued economic growth.

Approaching such an important economic milestone, this Himalayan nation, blessed with spectacular natural beauty, rich biodiversity and myriad cultural treasures[1] plans to adhere to an innovative national development strategy based on the cultivation of “Gross National Happiness.” The approach is based on four pillars, or themes, which are intended to be addressed in synchrony:

  • Good Governance
  • Sustainable Socio-Economic Development
  • Preservation and Promotion of Culture, and
  • Environmental Conservation.[2]
Bhutan is notably successful in conserving its natural resources, including its land, water, air and biodiversity. It is 71% covered by forest as of 2017,[3] and more than 51% of the nation’s land is protected as National Parks, Nature Reserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries or Corridors, collectively known as the Bhutan Biological Conservation Complex.[4] According to Bhutan’s Prime Minister in February 2016, Bhutan is the only nation on earth that has a net negative carbon balance, meaning its forests sequester more carbon than is emitted by all of its industrial, commercial, residential and transportation sectors, and its predominantly hydroelectric power sources.[5]
To achieve ongoing good governance, socio-economic development, cultural and conservation goals, the government of Bhutan, recently re-established as a constitutional monarchy, is striving to engage its citizens, its civic and religious institutions, and its private businesses in helping to make progress on each of these four themes. Of increasing importance over time is the engagement not only of large enterprises, but also of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that will provide incremental momentum to drive economic and social development.
I was fortunate to visit Bhutan with my family on a remarkable vacation in April 2019.  Having done a bit of homework before and during our trip, I was aware of the challenges that will face Bhutan as it moves forward with its national development program. As a co-founder of the International Land Conservation Network (ILCN), I was interested to better understand how conservation was, or was not, a part of the everyday operations of large Bhutanese enterprises, as well as its SMEs.
Accordingly, I was glad to see, as I flew into Paro (site of Bhutan’s only international airport), that the theme of environmental conservation was front and center in Kuzuzangpola, the flight magazine of Bhutan Airlines.[6] The magazine’s first feature story enthusiastically reported on a local citizen science program that monitors the impact of climate change on the seasonal presence and condition of Bhutanese flora and fauna. I learned more from browsing several of the nation’s English-language newspapers, which gave extensive coverage to such topics as the government's 14 year commitment to fund the Bhutan for Life program[7] and the comments at a development conference of Achim Steiner, the visiting UNDP Administrator. Steiner praised both Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness strategy and its notable conservation achievements.[8]
With the help of this literature, it became apparent to me that large companies serving Bhutan’s tourism industry, as well as a spectrum of media enterprises, were well attuned to the environmental priorities of Bhutan’s King and its Parliament. How then, I wondered, had conservation and stewardship ideas permeated Bhutan’s smaller and medium-sized firms?
While I had no way to comprehensively survey these more modestly sized enterprises, I was treated to at least one impressive demonstration of how a conservation ethic has become widely spread among Bhutan’s people and its small-to-medium sized firms — an act of personal generosity and civic responsibility now remembered by the members of my family as Dorji’s Good Deed.
Dorji Tshering is an expert driver with several decades of experience navigating Bhutan’s roads. While the quality of many main roads has reportedly improved dramatically in recent years, many of them are relatively narrow and must be negotiated with care, especially if a large construction truck is coming in the opposite direction over a high mountain pass. As passengers in the van he drove, we marveled at how Dorji, with sharp eyes and steady hands, handled every twist in the road with good humor and a serene attitude.
During our trip, Dorji worked alongside Tsewang Jurmey, a gentle and knowledgeable guide. Both men are employed by Bhutan Karma Trails, a small enterprise that had arranged every detail of our six day visit to Bhutan. A scheduled highlight near the end of our trip was a two-hour ascent of a steep trail to the Tiger’s Nest, a monastery lodged into the side of a huge granite outcropping in western Bhutan.
As we gained altitude on the hike, I began to feel some discomfort in my feet (a common issue for me), so I elected to stay at the teahouse and read while the rest of the party – my wife, our three children, Tsewang and Dorji – continued on, promising to return in several hours. I proceeded to finish a book I had been reading, and when the group returned I was treated to a nice surprise. Dorji came down the mountain with a 100-liter grain sack balanced over his shoulder. The sack was filled with litter he had picked up along the trail. He was followed by Tsewang, who was carrying a second 100-liter sack filled with collected litter. When I asked about the unexpected baggage, they explained that Dorji had just started to collect paper and random plastic items he found along the trail because “it was the right thing to do.”
Dorji and Tsewang brought their load down to the bottom of the trail, with me and my family pitching in by picking up stuff along the way to add to the load. At the bottom, a large trash depository was there to accept the collection.  Word of Dorji’s action spread quickly to the entrepreneur who runs Bhutan Karma Trails, a generous and thoughtful gentleman named Sonam Jamtso -- everyone calls him Jamtso. He quickly decided that on the next “off” day, all of the company’s ten employees would pitch in for a “day of service” to keep Dorji’s civic initiative going. They would spend a day picking up litter at the Tiger’s Nest trail and other nearby sites, taking care of the natural and cultural wonders that make their enterprise possible.
It will take many, many generations of Bhutanese citizens like Dorji, Tsewang and Jamtso, working across the public, private, civic, religious and academic sectors, and including organizations large and small to sustain the culture of conservation that is already deeply rooted in the nation’s ethos.  The nation’s resolve may be tested as it becomes increasingly urban and as personal incomes rise. I have confidence, however, that with role models like my three new friends, Bhutan will indeed sustain and strengthen its record as a champion of environmental conservation and stewardship.
[1] Cultural treasures ranging from large Buddhist monasteries to widely distributed prayer wheels, such as that pictured here (all photos credited to Will Levitt).
[2] “The Four Pillars of GNH,” GNH Centre Bhutan, available at  
[3] “Bhutan’s 71 percent forest cover confirmed,” BBS Online, February 7, 2017, available at
[4] WWF Bhutan. “Bhutan Biological Conservation Complex.” Available at .
[5] Tensing Togbay, Prime Minister of Bhutan. “This country is not just carbon neutral, it’s carbon negative.” Ted Talk, presented at Ted2016, February 2016, Vancouver, Canada. Available at .
[6] Bhutan Airlines. “Heroes: A citizen science initiative to monitor climate change in mountain ecosystems,” Kuzuzangpola: Bhutan Airlines Inflight Magazine, April-May 2019, page 28.
[7] Staff Reporter, “Nu 2.4 billion Bhutan for Life grant formalized,” Bhutan Times, Sunday 14 April 2019, page 11. Note that Bhutan for Life is a PFP, or Project Finance for Permanence mechanism initiated by the Royal Government of Bhutan and the World Wildlife Fund. It is supported by contributions from the Green Climate Fund, the Bhutan Trust for Environmental Conservation, individuals donors, foundations, and the World Wildlife Fund, with co-financing from the Global Environmental Facility and the Royal Government of Bhutan. In April 2019, a sum of 2.4 billion Bhutan ngultrum, or nu, converts into about 34.5 million United States dollars.
[8] Sonam Yangon, “UNDP’s future collaboration will be as strong as ever with Bhutan: Achim Steiner,” The Bhutanese, March 16, 2019, available at

Asi Conserva Chile gives Elisa Corcuera award to Parque Andino Juncal

Asi Conserva Chile, an association of Chilean private and civic conservation organizations, recently gave the Elisa Corcuera award to Catherine Kenrick in recognition of her work with Parque Andino Juncal, which is located in the Andes mountains near the town of Los Andes.  The award publicly recognizes a member of the Asi Conserva Chile community for her or his history of hard work and achievements in a conservation initiative, making a notable contribution to the development of the association, as well as to conservation in Chile in general.  

Parque Andino Juncal is located at the top of the Juncal river basin, a tributary of the Aconcagua River in the Andes cordillera. It is being conserved both to support scientific investigation and and to enable the development of sustainable tourism practices. Since 2010, it has been a Ramsar site due to its wetlands, rivers and the variety of flora and fauna that it shelters.

Catherine Kenrick has been connected to the park through her family for multiple generations and has been instrumental in its conservation and opening to the public for sustainable tourism and science.  In January 2018, the ILCN brought a group of European conservation practitioners to the Parque Andino Juncal and met with Catherine as part of a study tour with the European Land Conservation Network (ELCN).  

The Elisa Corcuera award was created in 2017 and was first given to its namesake, Elisa Cocuera, the first president of Asi Conserva Chile and who helped to found the Katalapi Park Center for Research and Education. Elisa passed away more than a year ago after a long struggle with cancer. She had a remarkable attitude and work ethic. We remember Elisa for her incredible persistence and tenacity, as well as her irrepressible ability to take great joy in her work.

IUCN Private Protected Area (PPA) Specialist Group meets in Vilm, Germany

From April 8-12, 2019, the IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Specialist Group on Privately Protected Areas and Nature Stewardship convened for a workshop in Vilm, Germany to discuss how Privately Protected Areas (PPAs) can be further supported, promoted, and recognized. The meeting was sponsored and hosted by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and its International Academy for Nature Conservation.

The workshop kicked off with presentations on current PPA status in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, and New Zealand. Key workshop discussions focused on increasing PPA capacity around the world based on the PPA Guidelines, which were launched by the Specialist Group in November 2018; developing a global research agenda on PPAs which will be added to the PPA Specialist Group website; ensuring the inclusion of PPAs in agenda-setting at the Convention of Biological Diversity’s Conference of Parties in 2020; and the future work of the PPA Specialist Group. Over the next year, the Specialist Group will work to implement the plans and ideas emerging from the discussion in Vilm, and to continue to support PPAs and nature stewardship globally.

The Nature Conservancy hosts US Natural Climate Solutions competition 

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has announced a request for proposals for projects with potential to substantially increase the use of natural climate solutions in the United States.  The program is funded with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with the aim of helping to launch innovative efforts to capture greenhouse gases using conserved and working lands.  

Five grants were awarded in Fall 2018 and TNC expects to complete two more rounds of grant-making in the next 12 months. The deadline for the second round of applications is August 16, 2019. Applicants may request up to $250,000 per project. The third application period will be announced in early 2020. In addition to the financial support received as part of the grant, awardees will receive mentoring and access to networks and partnership in the field.

Interested applicants should visit to learn more about the opportunity and to submit their applications.  

European Land Conservation Network hosts Workcamp in Carvalhais, Portugal

ELCN project partner Montis and 15 nature conservationists from seven countries across Europe came together for a week-long work camp on natural engineering, site restoration and monitoring in Carvalhais, Portugal. Participants did practical field work, including soil regeneration using natural engineering techniques, control of invasive plant species, and bird, amphibian, and other species monitoring, in addition to leisure activities. The event brought together nature lovers and conservationists from countries across Europe and around the world to deepen the connections and relationships among project partners, and concluded with a productive ELCN project planning meeting on continuing and strengthening the work, collaboration, and effectiveness of the network.

European Investment Bank (EIB) releases new "Investing in Nature" guide

The European Investment Bank recently released a new guide titled "​Investing in Nature: Financing conservation and nature-based solutions"​ with the aim of supporting conservation entrepreneurs and others seeking to develop conservation and nature-based solutions projects. While creators of conservation and nature-based solutions projects have a clear view on what they aim to achieve with their initiatives, their expertise and understanding of setting up a viable and sustainable project can be strengthened. This gap in financial expertise and project development skills constitutes a hurdle for conservation projects in attracting financing. This new guide seeks to help close this knowledge gap.

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

ELCN / ILCN Global Congress in Barcelona
April 22-24, 2020
We are very excited to announce the Third Global Congress of the International Land Conservation Network will take place in Barcelona, Spain in April 2020!  The Congress will be hosted in conjunction with our partners at the European Land Conservation Network (ELCN). 

Please look out for more details in the coming months.  Registration will open for the Congress later in 2019.  Please save the date on your calendars, we look forward to seeing you there!
Upcoming Events:

Seventh Symposium on Advanced Legal Topics in Land Conservation

June 13-14, 2019
Providence, RI, USA

"Looking to stay informed on conservation law? Interested in crafting practical legal solutions? Join us for the Land Trust Alliance's Seventh Symposium on Advanced Legal Topics in Land Conservation June 13-14, 2019, at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island. This Symposium is the ideal opportunity for attorneys, appraisers, accountants, experienced land trust professionals and law school faculty."


The Nature of Cities Summit
June 4-7, 2019

Paris, France

"A first-ever gathering of The Nature of Cities community where thought leaders from communities of practice, policy, and academia come together to discuss the nature of cities—green cities that are better for people and nature. The TNOC Summit will be a gathering unlike any before in its commitment to convening diverse voices and actors in support of propelling a movement for collaborative green cities."


2019 Conservation Finance Bootcamp
June 24-28, 2019

Portland, OR, USA

"The 13th annual Conservation Finance Boot Camp will be held June 24-28th, 2019, at Portland State University in Portland, OR. The Boot Camp is a week-long, intensive training course to help mid-career professionals utilize innovative and effective financing strategies for land and resource conservation, restoration, and stewardship."


ALCA Private Land Conservation Conference
October 8-10, 2019
Adelaide, Australia

"ALCA [Australian Land Conservation Alliance] is very excited to announce our hosts for the 2019 Private Land Conservation Conference – Nature Foundation SA! PLC19 will be held 8-10 October 2019 at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide – save the date and join us for the 5th Annual Australian Land Conservation Alliance Conference."


III Latin American and Caribbean Congress of Protected Areas
October 14-17, 2019
Lima, Peru

"Under the theme 'Solutions for welfare and sustainable development', the III Latin American and Caribbean Congress of Protected Areas will be held from 14-17 October 2019."


Land Trust Alliance Rally
October 17-19, 2019
Raleigh, NC, USA

"Join us this year in Raleigh, NC, October 17-19, 2019, for a gathering packed with diverse topics to explore and great colleagues and friends to learn and share with. Rally has all of the resources you want to take your conservation skills further."


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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