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Staffan Widstrand / Rewilding Europe

3 million euro from Dutch National Postcode Lottery

9 February 2011 - Dutch National Postcode Lottery supports Rewilding Europe with 3,1 million Euro

Laren, 9 February 2011 – During the annual ‘Good Money Gala’ on Wednesday 9 February 2011 the Dutch National Postcode Lottery (Nationale Postcode Loterij) announced that a project proposal submitted by ARK on behalf of Rewilding Europe (WWF-Netherlands, Wild Wonders of Europe and ARK Nature) was approved. With this grant of 3,1 million Euro Rewilding Europe can make a prompt start on their pioneering project to rewild 1 million hectares of abandoned agricultural landscape in five areas across Europe: Velebit, Eastern Carpathians, Western Iberia, Danube Delta and Southern Carpathians. Rewilding will include the re-introduction of the original wild, large grazing herbivores, and provide current generations a unique opportunity to develop complete ecosystems as the foundation for new rural economies, where nature itself is the driving engine.

Rewilding Europe

Tens of millions of hectares of abandoned land can be found across Europe. A recent study by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP)  showed that this trend will continue reaching about 30 million hectares by 2020. If nothing is done we  run the risk of creating a “digital” Europe – intensive farming on fertile lands, alongside forests and dense bushes dominating less productive regions. This will result in a loss of many animal and plant species as well as landscapes valued by European citizens. Most species that depend on half open landscapes may disappear on a grand scale.

A simple solution to this threat is to develop complete ecosystems with healthy numbers of larger animals and reintroductions of lost species. In particular good populations of large herbivores are the key to maintaining these half open landscapes.

Rewilding Europe will work side by side with local organizations, authorities, entrepreneurs and landowners not only to develop new wild lands, but also to develop a sustainable, nature based economy.

Rewilding Europe will start in these 5 areas: Eastern Carpathians (Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine) , Western Iberia (Spain and Portugal), Velebit (Croatia), Danube Delta (Romania and Ukraine) and Southern Carpathians (Romania). Within the next three years five more pilot areas across Europe will be added. Each area measures at least 100.000 hectares.

Society always wins

Fifty percent of the gross proceeds from the Dutch National Postcode Lottery is earmarked for projects in the community. Thanks to the Dutch participants a record amount was granted to charities active in the field of man and nature in the Netherlands and abroad. Since 1996, ARK Nature has received 14,1 million Euro from the Lottery.

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