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Thanks from the ILCN Team!

In the United States, where the ILCN is headquartered, we just celebrated Thanksgiving. In that spirit, the ILCN would like to extend its gratitude and thanks to all of you for supporting the ILCN in this first year.

As you will remember, the ILCN had its first official congress in Berlin in October of 2015. Since that time, we have launched a website and this e-newsletter; we have hosted two in-person meetings (one on Conservation Finance in Chile, which was discussed in our last e-newsletter, and one on Cross-border Collaboration, below); we have doubled the size of our network; and we have had countless conversations with innovative thinkers and conservation actors from over 30 countries. In just a short year, we have seen new relationships and programs emerge around the world as practitioners have had the opportunity to connect with one another through our network.

We want to thank all of you for your inspiring work and for your participation in the ILCN. We look forward to working with you all to have another great year of advancing private land conservation and stewardship around the world.
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, please contact us at
Transboundary Collaboration at the Land Trust Alliance Rally

On October 27th 2016, 60 members of the International Land Conservation Network (ILCN), from nine different countries, came together for a day-long Workshop on Cross Border Collaboration in Private Land Conservation. The ILCN hosted this workshop a day in advance of the Land Trust Alliance’s 2016 Rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. These two back-to-back events provided a meaningful forum for networking, discussion, and conservation success sharing for members of the global private land conservation movement.

Featuring case studies of collaborative efforts between Canada and the United States, Mexico and the United States, as well as cross-border initiatives within the European Union, participants in the workshop explored conditions that are necessary for successful cross border efforts. 

Presenters shared initiatives ranging from protecting critical transboundary ecosystems from North America to the biogeographical regions of the European Union; from helping landowners residing in the United States conserve their land in Canada, to working with local landowners and organizations in Mexico to restore water to highly degraded areas; and from working with ranchers to support jaguar conservation, to collaborating with Canadian zoos to save a rapidly vanishing butterfly. 

Interestingly, this wide range of case studies demonstrated several common themes, or enabling conditions, for successful cross-border efforts, such as the importance of:
  • Building trust before embarking on a cross border effort
  • Developing, from the ground up, a shared vision with common priorities 
  • Having project ‘champions’ who will take up the cause
  • Having a common understanding of land protection terminology and laws across borders
  • Reliable funding for cross border, landscape-scale work and for ongoing stewardship efforts
The ILCN will work to explore these common themes and challenges in greater depth in order to provide the community with new resources and educational opportunities that may support further cross-border efforts and knowledge sharing. 

After the workshop, most participants stayed in Minneapolis and joined over 1,600 participants at the Land Trust Alliance Rally. Learn more about the offerings at Rally here

The ILCN intends to host a day-long workshop geared toward international participants in concert with Rally in 2017, which will be in Denver, Colorado, USA. If you are interested in being put on an email list to receive information about it next year, or have additional ideas as to how the ILCN can better support cross-border conservation activities, then please email Emily Myron at


Payments for Ecosystem Services in Uganda 

The Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST), an indigenous, non-governmental organization, is using creative conservation finance solutions to pursue a healthy environment with prosperous people. Their strategy of investing in social capital, as well as natural capital, has made them successful in mobilizing funds and creating conservation results. ECOTRUST brings in about $1.2 million annually from the sale of environmental services, primarily related to the carbon market.
A cornerstone of ECOTRUST’s work has been mobilizing communities to form communal land associations (CLAs), which are registered legal entities. These CLAs may then obtain ownership of local lands and develop management plans, thus empowering communities to improve their natural resources.
One of ECOTRUST’s most successful programs has been Trees for Global Benefits: A cooperative carbon offsetting scheme. Now present in 10 districts across four conservation landscapes, this cooperative carbon offsetting scheme mobilizes foreign direct investment in smallholder agroforestry through the voluntary carbon market. To date, 6,000 hectares have improved land management by small landowners, leading to watershed conservation, wildlife corridors, national park buffers, as well as empowered local communities.
All projects start with determining how the community would like to improve use of their land. Then, a land use plan is established that integrates community needs with carbon stock improvements. Finally, communities enter into agreements with ECOTRUST, averaging 25 years in length. This community-based approach ensures project sustainability because they are designed to meet both community and environmental needs.
Carbon credits are traded on the international market. Once sold, ECOTRUST holds the funds and distributes money based on communities reaching milestones, such as tree growth thresholds. Payments are made through microfinance, and farmers can also use their PES agreements as collateral for loans, and extension services are made available to farmers, thus increasing their capacity and knowledge.
ECOTRUST has been a pioneer in Uganda, using creative financing and community management mechanisms to empower local people while managing forests for carbon, biodiversity, and water supply. They have been internationally recognized for these successes and continue to think strategically about how to protect and restore Uganda’s unique natural resources.
To learn more about EcoTrust, contact Pauline Nantongo at

In Polarized US Election, Land Conservation Remains Bipartisan

Local land protection won big in the United States' 2016 elections. According to the Trust for Public Land's LandVote Database, 65 of 82 land protection ballot initiatives passed on November 8, 2016. Employing a range of finance mechanisms, including bonds, sales tax, property tax, income tax, and real estate transfer tax, these new measures will result in over $3 billion for land acquisition and protection for open space, farmland, parks, and recreation. Measures passed at the state, county, municipal, and special district levels. 

According to the Land Trust Alliance, land trusts led and contributed to 12 of these campaigns, and the Trust for Public Land was engaged in 31 of these campaigns. Success was achieved in both democrat- and republican-leaning states and districts, showing that land conservation is still an issue that voters overwhelmingly agree is important.

The full ballot measure results can be found here (The Trust for Public Land, LandVote®, 2016.
Australian Land Conservation Alliance Conference

At the end of November, the Australian Land Conservation Alliance (ALCA) organized the third National Private Land Conservation Conference in Melbourne, Australia. Attended by approximately 250 practitioners, scientists, land managers, and academics, the conference spanned two days of presentations that included government, private, and nonprofit examples and case studies. As the chair of ALCA, Victoria Marles of Trust for Nature, said “there is so much we can learn from each other…this conference is a wonderful opportunity for delegates to exchange information, discuss new research and initiatives, and to identify ways to work together for conservation on private land. We can maximize our impact and achieve so much more through partnerships and collaborations.”

ILCN director Laura Johnson delivered the keynote talk at the conference, relating a short history of the land trust movement in the US, and how some of the successes and challenges of the US movement might be relevant to the Australian experience. In addition, Penelope Figgis, a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, brought participants up-to-date on recent developments with IUCN’s work in privately protected areas. More than 40 additional sessions described the range and depth of land conservation in Australia and included additional examples from New Zealand, South Africa and the US. See the full list of presentations here.

Participants also had ample time for networking and informal discussion, and the breaks were a buzz of conversation and ideas as people reconnected or met for the first time to discover their common ground and opportunities for collaboration. The conference ended with a discussion about potential next steps for a private land conservation network in Australia.

For additional information about the conference or private land conservation in Australia, please contact Victoria Marles, CEO of the Trust for Nature, Victoria, at

Latest US Land Trust Census Shows Over 56 Million Acres of Private Land Conserved

The Land Trust Alliance recently released their 2015 National Land Trust Census, the most comprehensive data source for land protected by private nonprofit organizations in the United States.

According to the Census, 1,363 land trusts across the country have conserved over 56 million acres, an area double the size of all the land in national parks across the lower 48 states. There has been an increase of 9 million acres of private land conserved since 2010, when the last Census was conducted. These lands conserve important ecosystems and habitats, farm and ranchlands, and water sources, as well as provide recreational opportunities for over 6.2 million people (in 2015 alone).

The release of the Census coincides with the one year anniversary of the enhanced federal tax incentive for conservation easement donations, an important tool to incentivize private land conservation across the country.

Explore this interactive map to see census results by state or access the full Census report here.
Steering Committee Spotlight 

Lisa McLaughlin

Growing up in rural Canada, Lisa has always been very connected to the natural world. Local ponds and forests were her childhood refuges, and, as she got older, her interest in nature only continued to grow. 

Inspired by a love of wildlife, Lisa studied both biology and planning in order to learn how to integrate the needs of nature and needs of people. Since that time, she has held a range of positions during her 17-year tenure at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Today, she is the organization’s Acting Vice-President for Conservation, leading the implementation of NCC’s conservation policy framework and managing relationships with both national and international partners.

Years ago, Lisa attended one of the Land Trust Alliance’s annual Rallies, where she met and became involved with a small group of international attendees interested in sharing their experiences. It became clear that private land conservation practitioners around the world have very similar challenges and, with that fundamental link, there is tremendous opportunity for solutions to be transferred. The group continued to collaborate and developed into a strong community that ultimately formed the basis of the founding members of the International Land Conservation Network (ILCN).

Through her work, and the work of the ILCN, Lisa hopes to raise the profile of privately protected areas on the global stage. These areas will be crucial as countries seek to combat climate change, provide food and water security, and protect and maintain biodiversity. Lisa hopes that, in the near future, the value of privately protected areas for nature conservation and people around the world will be widely recognized as on-par with the value of publicly protected areas. 
Upcoming Events:

Transboundary Protected Area solutions Webinar --
December 7, 2016, 14:00-15:00 CET (08:00-09:00 EST)

Hosted by the IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme, this Panorama webinar will showcase transboundary protected area solutions contributing to biodiversity conservation, sustainable social and economic development, and peace-building. Find more information and register here.

Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation in Asia
February 1-3, 2016, New Delhi, India

This symposium will focus on “strengthening sustainable development and adaptation capabilities” meaning that it will serve the purpose of showcasing experiences from research, field projects and best practice in climate change adaptation in Asian countries, which may be useful or implemented in other countries in the continent. More information may be found here.

Green Infrastructure: Nature-based Solutions for Sustainable and Resilient Cities
April 4-7, 2016, Orvieto, Italy

The main objective of the is conference is to show how a trans-disciplinary approach to urban planning, based on green infrastructure as nature-based solutions, will enable maximization  of Ecosystem Services, making future cities more resilient and sustainable. The conference will bring together urban foresters, landscape architects, arborists, plant physiologists, ecologists, economists, epidemiologists, sociologists, students, urban planners and managers and enable different communities, such as researchers and academics, practitioners, policy makers, administrators, and the private sector, to exchange knowledge and insights. More information is available here.

See more on the ILCN's Calendar of Events.
Please take our survey

We are currently compiling a survey of organizations around the world that are engaged in the conservation of private land.

If you have not yet completed our survey and feel that your organization’s work is in line with the mission of the ILCN, then we invite you to please take our brief survey and to share it with relevant partners.

Many thanks to our content contributors: Pauline Nantongo (Executive Director, ECOTRUST), Lisa McLaughlin (Vice-President for Conservation, Nature Conservancy of Canada), and Laura Johnson (Director, International Land Conservation Network).

December 2016
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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