Fund offers renewed hope for habitats

Fauna & Flora International has received a US$5 million grant from Arcadia to support its Halcyon Land & Sea fund, which is dedicated to protecting critical areas of natural habitat.

Habitat loss is widely cited as one of the most significant threats to the world’s biodiversity, and is the primary factor driving population declines in 86% of all threatened birds, 86% of the threatened mammals assessed, and 88% of threatened amphibians according to IUCN.

The scale of habitat loss, both in the terrestrial and the marine realm, is disturbing. 70% of coral reefs are threatened or destroyed, says IUCN, and 6 million hectares of primary forest have been lost since 2000 alone.

Established in 1998 by Dr Lisbet Rausing, and managed by Fauna & Flora International, Halcyon Land & Sea (formerly The Arcadia Land Trust) is a fund dedicated to securing vital areas of natural habitat.

Intervention ranges from site management support to outright land purchase, but in every case these projects aim to put the management or ownership of the site back into local hands.

To date, Halcyon Land & Sea has secured almost 6.5 million hectares of critical habitat and has directly contributed to the conservation of over 46.5 million hectares – an area larger than Sweden.

“The beauty of Halcyon Land & Sea is that it allows us to intervene quickly in emergencies, when critical areas are threatened with destruction,” said Dr Abigail Entwistle, Director of Science at Fauna & Flora International.

“Great examples include securing vital swathes of distinctive species-rich fynbos habitat around Flower Valley in South Africa, establishing the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve in Belize, and protecting important areas of Mediterranean habitat – cork oak forest and native shrub/grassland – for the Iberian lynx in Portugal.

“Funds from Halcyon Land & Sea are also used to support more strategic initiatives and provide small grants to areas where traditional funding is unavailable,” she added.

To find out more about Arcadia and Halcyon Land & Sea, download the press release (PDF).