Internship Opportunities in the LIFE ENPLC project

Eurosite – the European Land Conservation Network is a network of natural site managers. We understand natural sites as any type of land of nature conservation value, regardless of its protection status, ownership or governance. Our scope hence goes explicitly beyond the management of publicly protected areas and includes stakeholders involved in private land conservation and farmland. Eurosite is a not-for-profit membership association registered in Tilburg, the Netherlands. Currently, our members come from 18 EU member states and 5 non-EU countries. Our members include public bodies, private commercial organisations and not-for-profit organisations, most of which manage Natura 2000 sites and other protected areas. 

Eurosite is looking for 1 or 2 interns that can help with the successful implementation of the LIFE ENPLC (European Networks for Private Land Conservation) project. Climate warming and the increasing loss of biodiversity constitute an existential threat for planet and people. Private land management can play an important role in fighting climate emergency and biodiversity loss. The core objective of the LIFE ENPLC project is to develop an EU-wide network of private land conservation practitioners leveraging innovative private land conservation tools to mitigate the damage and preserve the land’s value for the next generations.  

To establish a sustainable cooperation between landowners and conservationists, the Conservation Landowners Coalition (CLC) was founded in 2021. The ENPLC project is focusing on the most promising private land conservation tools (PLC tools). We test and support the wider uptake of so-called conservation easements, engage in the reform of supportive fiscal and tax systems incentivising PLC, continue the development of PLC standards and practices, and help with the development of organisations and their networks dealing with PLC (following the US “land trust” model). We are working with volunteers and citizen scientists on voluntary private land conservation.  For communication purposes, PLC Ambassadors were nominated, to better involve national/regional authorities in developing private land conservation initiatives in their jurisdiction. The project is funded by the European Commission’s environment and climate action funding instrument LIFE. It brings together 18 partner organisations (including NABUNatuurpuntXCN and WWF Italy) from 11 European Countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the Netherlands) and will continue until 2024. 

Ideally interns: 

  • Are looking for an internship period of 6 months or more 
  • Can work remotely from home 
  • Are a student at a university in a relevant field (BSc or MSc level)  
  • Have an interest in private land conservation and in the NGO sector 
  • Can work independently 
  • Proficiency in the English language  

What we can offer: 

  • Possibility to write their thesis on the topic of private land conservation 
  • Supervision and support from the project manager and other project partners 
  • Joining events planned by the project 
  • For instance, planned for 2022: 
  • Workshop on volunteering in Portugal 
  • Policy workshop in Brussels  
  • Access to Eurosite resources (e.g. experts in the field and member organisations)  
  • Co-designing the internship based on current ideas (see below) and your expectations  
  • Flexible start and end date 

Potential core activities for internships: 

Country profiles on PLC  
Eurosite would like to create country profiles on private land conservation based on a study conducted by the ILCN (Gloss et al., 2019). The research provides an overview of the status of Privately Protected Areas (PPAs) in 30 countries throughout Latin America, Asia, the Pacific, and Sub-Saharan Africa. It summarizes the legal, policy, and institutional mechanisms used in these countries to establish and incentivise PPAs. Alongside the mechanisms currently existing in these 30 countries, the study references mechanisms that represent potential opportunities for the recognition or creation of PPAs. Eurosite would like to create similar country profiles for Europe. Examples of these country profiles can be found on the ILCN website (here). We would like to begin with those countries in which we have project partners that can serve as experts and local contact points. These countries are Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the Netherlands. The country profiles could then be published on the website and be included in the manual on nature conservation for Natura 2000 habitats and species focussing on individual private landowners that is used in the LIFE ENPLC project (B.2).  

Tasks include: 

  • Desk review of existing studies on the country’s PPAs and private land conservation history. This includes national legislation for PAs, national land and resource-related laws, and a range of country-specific policy sources, including post-2010 NBSAPs submitted by each country to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). 
  • To fill in the gaps in existing literature, or for countries where such literature is unavailable, primary sources will be used to provide up-to-date information. These sources include national strategy and policy documents, reports by NGOs, national and regional PPA networks or organizations, individual PPA managers, and PPA funders. 
  • A questionnaire and or expert interviews, based on the survey that was created as part of the ILCN study (Gloss et al., 2019, pp. 26-27). 
  • Using this collected data to create country profiles for Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the Netherlands 

Database on PLC  
Privately protected areas (PPAs) are today recognised under different definitions and legal protection categories, depending on the country, region or legal framework. Monitoring of PPAs and the recognition of their contribution to the conservation efforts of the EU member states (i.e. in reaching Aichi Target 11 and the EU Biodiversity Strategy’s target to protect 30% of the land base until 2030) is an issue at both European and global level, as PPAs and OECMs already contribute significantly to achieving these targets and have considerable up-side potential. The official reporting streams seem to fail to capture the vast majority of contributions from PPAs ( the implementation of the Natura 2000 network) and do not give them the proper credit. This shortcoming has been recognised by the UNEP WCMC, who has pioneered efforts to properly map and report privately protected areas e.g. in the UK, resulting in a registration of more than 3,600 new PPAs with a total of almost 500,000 ha. 

The ENPLC project aspires to facilitate recording of PPAs and other PLC initiatives in national databases by further completing the database on PLC initiatives developed by LIFE ELCN (see here) and actively reaching out to PLC practitioners and asking them to share their data with relevant authorities. To do so, we have created a survey that can be used as a first step (see here). 

This task also involves the assessment of existing procedures to set up a PPA in the different EU member states. It will investigate the mechanisms working well today for the designation and recognition of PPAs, the conditions required to define land as a PPA (e.g.  the duration and effectiveness of conservation measures) and it will assess the potential for a standardised European procedure for recognising PPAs. To ensure consistency of definitions, in particular with their delineation from “Other effective conservation measures (OECM)”. Furthermore, this action will investigate the compensation possibilities for private owners developing a PPA. IUCN guidelines and existing experience and knowledge from all project partners and network members will be used as a basis for the data collection. Moreover, we will closely coordinate this effort with the European Commission to ensure that they are aligned with the on-going political developments in the Commission. 

 Tasks include: 

  • Reaching out to and connecting with PLC organisations  
  • Collecting data through the survey  
  • Analysing the survey, visualizing the output 
  • Support the ENPLC projects work towards a solution for the problem in privately Protected area designation and recognition in collaboration with the EC, the EEA, various EU member states, the IUCN PPA Specialist Group and the UNEP WCMC.  

 Volunteering and Citizen Science Database 
As part of the LIFE ENPLC project, Eurosite aims to build a database on volunteering related to private land conservation in the EU. This database will be made accessible to potential volunteers on the project’s website and inform about internship and volunteering opportunities among the project partners and network members. This way, we will also create a lasting informal exchange mechanism for volunteers among its members that will remain available and will be maintained beyond the duration of this project. 

 Tasks include: 

  • Identifying and defining criteria of different types of volunteering and volunteer profiles 
  • Collecting different volunteering opportunities and setting up a database 
  • Connecting with ENPLC project partners to trial volunteer exchanges between organisations  

 If you are interested, please send an email including your CV at 


The news items collected on this blog have been written by project partners of the LIFE ENPLC project.