Meet the Team

René de Bont 

From the family farm he studied at the Higher Agricultural School in Den Bosch. René focused on Landscape Planning and Management. René then worked for 25 years for three agricultural cooperatives (compound feed, sugar and cattle breeding). In 2007, this creative bridge builder shifted his activities by combining his interest in nature conservation with the position of regional coordinator FPG in the three southern provinces of the Netherlands. René works intensively on a project basis with private landowners, with Provinces and stakeholders to strengthen the position of ownership and land management. 

In addition to walking and cycling, family man René is committed to (agricultural) nature conservation, history and quality of life.

Mathias Brummer

Mathias Brummer is a technical expert in nature conservation. His expertise is centered around forest and private land conservation in Mediterranean countries. In LIFE ENPLC, Mathias is assisting the coordination of Jofre Rodrigo on the activities implemented by the team of the XCN on citizen science in private land and on private land conservation tools. Besides his involvement in ENPLC, Mathias is contributing to the socioeconomic assessment of forest conservation measures and the integration of conservation measures into forest policies in other European projects.

João Carvalho

João Carvalho, born in 1970, studied at the High Institute of Agronomy (ISA), the University of Lisbon where he obtained a high degree in Forestry – Natural Resources Management.  He postgraduated in Resources Management (MSc) at the University of Edinburgh. He has been working as CEO – General Secretary of the ANPC since 1990 and besides his work representing Portuguese landowners and hunting estates, his job includes the coordination of several projects related with the sustainable use of natural resources and the recovery and conservation of biodiversity, including the Iberian-lynx and the black-vulture.

Daan Dekeukeleire

Daan works on the project at Natuurpunt, the largest nature conservation NGO’s in Belgium. Previously, he worked on the LIFE project “European Land Conservation Network”, where he was involved in setting up conservation management plans and species monitoring together with multiple stakeholders. Daan has a background in terrestrial ecology. He studied Biology at Ghent University, where he also obtained his PhD in forest ecology. Furthermore, Daan is a keen naturalist, with an outspoken interest in wildlife, especially bats and birds and in working with volunteers. 

Tilmann Disselhoff

Tilmann Disselhoff is a nature conservationist by heart and by profession. He holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from the Technical University of Berlin and has received scholarships from the Robert Bosch Foundation, the German National Academic Foundation, and Berlin’s Elsa-Neumann-Scholarship programme for particularly qualified young researchers. Focusing on  conservation financing and private land conservation, Tilmann has worked for numerous national and international organisations, such as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the European Commission, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, and the German Federal Environmental Foundation. In 2017, Tilmann joined NABU (Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union – the German chapter of Birdlife International) as the coordinator of a LIFE project to set up the European Land Conservation Network (ELCN).

Cristi Gherghiceanu

Cristi Gherghiceanu is the Executive Director and one of the founders of Fundatia ADEPT Transilvania. He graduated from Brasov University in IT, economics and accounting, and has been working for rural development NGOs since 2000. His parents run a small-scale farm and guest house in the village of Viscri, in the Târnava Mare area which is the focus of ADEPT activities. Cristi has been involved in all the projects developed by ADEPT, since it was established in 2004, overseeing daily operations and strategic development. His constant focus is on biodiversity conservation and rural development in close contact with the local farming communities.

Also, Cristi was an expert in the Life project “Development of a European Private Land Conservation Network”, 2017-2020, that focused on implementing and assessing innovative private land conservation tools and models, exchanging knowledge and experience about these tools, identifying legal and political obstacles to up-scaling them, and publicising private land conservation among relevant stakeholders.

Aiga Grasmane

Carolina Halevy

Carolina is the project officer of the LIFE project “European Networks for Private Land Conservation” at Eurosite, the coordinating beneficiary of the project. She also takes on the role of European representative at the International Land Conservation Network (ILCN). Carolina has a background in Business Administration (B.Sc.) and Environmental Sciences (M.Sc.) from Utrecht University, the Netherlands. She previously worked for the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Natuurmonumenten, Eurosite and the Reef Renewal Foundation International.

Martina Kišelová

Martina Kišelová is zoologist, studied zoology and ethology at Charles University. She has been employed in CSOP since 2016. The main field of work was working with donors and funds, but also participated in professional projects, including the coordination and implementation of zoological surveys. She has started work as coordinator of purchased land since 2021.

CSOP joined the ENPLC project because it owns and manages purchased land where Czech nature is protected. Our goal within the ENPLC project is to deal with volunteering and citizen science on purchased land. It is a great opportunity to connect management of purchased land with goals of ENPLC project.

Arpo Kullerkupp

Graduated biology from Tartu University in Estonia but has been working in forestry sector for over decade and specially focused on the private forestry issues. He has helped to develop support system of private forest owners, including advisory services, network and development of local associations and design of different measures and subsidies for forest owners and associations.  

In recent years he has been involved in different projects which are aimed to deal with nature conservation issues and to educate forest owners on that mater. He does believe that best way to protect nature on private land is together with the landowners not from the landowners.  

Francesco Marcone

Biologist, graduated from the University of Rome La Sapienza. For the last 20 years he has been working at WWFItaly, first in NGO and then in private commercial sector of WWF Oasi. Head of Programme and Scientific Projects and Director of “Litorale Romano” WWF Protected areas. He’s expert in ecology, nature conservation and restoration habitats. Specialist in management plans, environmental and protected areas management. Project manager of LIFE projects on Natura2000, ecosystem services and private land conservation. Member of the science commission of WWF Oasi and co-authored scientific publications as well as contributed to nature magazines.

Cécile Merel

Cécile Merel has a master’s degree in ecology specialising in biology of organisms, populations, and ecosystems and did several internships in different universities on pest issues (pine processionary moth and aphids). After her graduation she did a civic service at the François Sommer foundation to study the relation between genetic and morphology in Tanzanian lion. Now, she is project officer at the Nature Pole of the François Sommer foundation, and she is involved in projects on wildlife management and research to improve knowledge on species and their habitats in France but also in Africa. She evaluates project proposals within the framework of a call for proposals. Since 2018, she coordinates the Wildlife Estates label in France with the support of the National Federation of hunters (FNC) and French Office of Biodiversity (OFB). In the name of FFS, Cécile is involved in the ENPLC project in several activities, in particular in two working groups: financial incentives working group and volunteering and citizen science working group.

Anne-Sophie Mulier

Anne-Sophie Mulier works as a project coordinator at the European Landowners’ Organization in Brussels.  Since 2018 she has been active as the project officer for the EU’s LIFE+ Project “Land Is For Ever”, focusing on tools and instruments to engage individual private landowners in national and regional conservation efforts in the EU Member States. With this expertise she represents the network of individual landowners in the Conservation Landowners’ Coalition (CLC), supporting the coordination of the ENPLC and actively contributing to its activities. 

Marie Orban

Positive relationships, constructive communication and meaning making is key for Marie. She has a Master’s degree in Public Relations specialized in « Europeans affairs ». She is leading the ENPLC communication and her objective is to give a voice to Private Land Conservation and its supporters. She wants to make sure that landowners and NGOs’ positive actions to enhance biodiversity are visible and heard. 

She loves to interact with passionate people, share knowledges, find solution, write, learn and laugh.

Stefano Picchi

Stefano Picchi is a senior naturalist with 20 years of experience in projects on nature conservation (LIFE/Natura2000) for the European Commission and private/public bodies, such as WWF OASI. He is an adjunct professor at Bologna University with the science faculty in Conservation finance and a teacher in some master courses. Lately, Stefano has been an author and Project Manager of some LIFE projects on biodiversity conservation (LIFE MGN, LIFE MontidellaTolfa, LIFE REDUNE) and presently manages a project on the restoration of drylands habitats named LIFE DRYLANDS and one to save Lanner falcon from extinction named LIFE LANNER and the Italian section of LIFE ELCN/LIFE EPNLC. Stefano  keeps an updated blog on nature financing in Europe: http://europanatura.blogspot.it/

Pedro Prata

Pedro Prata was born in 1982 and grew up in a family farm in the central mountains of Portugal. Since childhood, he has been wandering through the grassland plateaus, venturing into the thick forests or simply sunbathing in the deep canyons of the rivers. It made him realise that there is a complex web of relations which wild nature so fruitfully shows in its many different aspects. He is passionate for nature in all its extent and a lover of outdoor sports. Pursuing this curiosity led him to an MSC in biology in the University of Lisbon, where he mostly researched the interactions between plants and fungi.

Inga Račinska

Inga has been working in nature conservation for more than 20 years, as a consultant and an NGO expert. Her work in Latvian Fund for Nature involves nature conservation policy, grant writing, and management of major nature restoration projects. In her consultant capacity she has worked with EU nature conservation policy, monitoring of the implementation of LIFE programme and coordinated several EU-wide studies on land stewardship and conservation easements.

Dr. Carlos Sánchez García-Abad

Dr. Carlos Sánchez, Director of Research of Fundación Artemisan, a Spanish private NGO formed by hunters, landowners and other key-stake holders, which aims to promote and defend the wise use of nature, with a focus on sustainable hunting activities and the promotion of rural economy. As private landowners manage a great proportion of the Spanish countryside, FA would engage with them through different actions, which ultimately will spread and promote their key role in wildlife conservation. 

Jurgen Tack

Jurgen Tack studied biology (marine ecology) at Brussels Free University where he also obtained his PhD in Sciences. Within the Framework of the Kenya Belgium Project in Marine Sciences (Coastal Farms Kenya) he developed a number of oyster farms along the Kenyan coast. In 2000 he joined the team of the Belgian Biodiversity Platform (Belgian Science Policy Office). In 2007 he became the CEO of the Research Institute for Nature and Forest. In 2016 he took the position of Scientific Director at the European Landowners’ Organization (ELO), CEO at Landelijk Vlaanderen (Flemish Landowners’ Organisation) and CEO of the Aanspreekpunt Privaat Beheer Natuur en Bos. 

Valérie Vandenabeele

As engineer in applied bio-sciences, Valérie is Sr. Policy Advisor and Sr. Project Manager Natura 2000, representing private land managers of the Flemish countryside. She started working for the hunters and landowners organisation in 2010, forming and representing them in local and Flemish Natura 2000 consultations. She also got involved in the establishment of the new Nature directives for Flanders and advises a variety of policy topics related to private land management. As private land management is not the professional occupation of landowners and hunters, it is the task of APB to advocate for incentives and common sense and provide adapted communication to support private land managers establish and continue their biodiversity goals.

Jóni Vieira

Since 2018 Jóni has been working as the MONTIS team leader, with the goal of managing abandoned land for nature conservation, mostly private land, with volunteering. Leader in the implementation of the pilot action “Crowdsourcing for private land conservation” by MONTIS, within the project LIFE ELCN – European Land Conservation Network.