CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recognition of the growing importance of private and civic land conservation around the globe, conservationists from six continents will join together to mark the official launch of the International Land Conservation Network (ILCN) at the Network's First Congress in Berlin, Germany on Oct. 19-21.
A project of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the Network is devoted to connecting people and nongovernmental organizations, building capacity and sharing ideas to promote the more rapid and effective use of civic and private land conservation strategies.
The Network builds on the success of the Land Trust Alliance, which was launched by the Lincoln Institute in 1982. Now an independent organization based in Washington, D.C., the Alliance has grown to represent more than 1,100 land trusts in the United States.
"Land trusts have preserved and protected 50 million acres of land in the U.S," said Laura Johnson, Director of the International Land Conservation Network and Board Chair of the Land Trust Alliance. "Now we have a real opportunity to both learn from, and share expertise with conservationists in other nations as we work together to protect the natural systems upon which human life depends."
The formation of the international network comes at a time of great need for land conservation, with an estimated 2 billion hectares of degraded land – an area larger than South America – available for rehabilitation, according to the United Nations. An additional 12 million hectares are degraded every year.
"We have enormous pressures across the globe – climate change, growth of population, pressures on cities and natural resources, development pressures, and I think most importantly, the disconnect now between people and nature," said Rand Wentworth, president of the Land Trust Alliance. "There's a very powerful need for local organizations to invite people back into a renewed relationship with nature."
At the Congress, participants will explore financial, legal and organizational strategies that help create and maintain privately protected land in different countries and settings.
The Network will launch with the support of major international policymakers.
"In these times of great challenges for nature conservation, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, it is becoming even more important to unite our efforts across borders, across continents and across the world to strengthen the protection and management of our natural capital," said Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director-General for Environment of the European Commission. "If we don't work together, we risk irreversible changes in our environment, which will in turn undermine our economic development and the resilience of our societies."
"I want to commend the ILCN for their leadership in the global land conservation movement," said United States Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia. "By connecting and empowering nonprofit and private land conservationists around the world, you have the power to make a major impact."
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy is the leading resource for key issues concerning the use, regulation, and taxation of land. Providing high quality education and research, the Lincoln Institute strives to improve public dialogue and decisions about land policy.
SOURCE Lincoln Institute of Land Policy