Workshop on conservation agreements hosted in Cyprus

Kyriakos Skordas, director of Terra Cypria, describes the case study to participants and lays out the challenges they are facing

On the 9th of November 2022 LIFE ENPLC implemented a workshop on tools for private land conservation alongside Terra Cypria in Larnaka (Cyprus). The workshop aimed at analysing the suitability of land stewardship tools for the protection of wetlands participants visited during the stay in Cyprus. The wetlands in Cyprus face several challenges such as anthropic pressure, climate change and high land fragmentation which makes its governance difficult. 20 participants worked together in groups to identify the most suitable conservation tool.

The case site that was visited during a field trip by workshop participants

Results of the workshop indicated that the local complexity requires the combination of several tools and strategies to face current challenges. It proved difficult to fit within one workshop solutions for real life problems which have been in place for decades. Follow up activities on the tools are required to further evaluate their suitability. 

Workshop participants share their groups findings with the rest of the participants
LIFE ENPLC presented the following six tools:
Land stewardship contracts
Land stewardship are strategies and instruments through which landowners and land users engage with each other to conserve nature on the property of the landowner. It usually comes in the form of a voluntary contractual or informal agreement between the landowner and public or private association to manage target habitats and/or species on the property of a landowner. Although it is not usual, these agreements can be between landowners and landowner’s associations. These agreements/contracts can take the form of a management support or management transfer agreement. Landowners and stewardship organizations can be public or private. Land stewardship not only takes place on land, but also in fluvial and marine ecosystems. Land stewardship can be seen as a means of mutual understanding between landowners and stewardship organizations to jointly preserve natural, cultural or landscape values.
Conservation easements
A conservation easement is a voluntarily entered legal agreement between a landowner and a conservation organisation or public agency that restricts uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. The conservation easement transfers the power to the easement holder to exercise certain use rights linked to the property. This transfer of rights becomes part of the property title, meaning that it remains valid when ownership of the property changes (the easement “runs with the land”).
Privately protected areas
Privately protected areas (PPA) are conceived under the IUCN Guidelines as a “protected area, as defined by the IUCN (i.e. a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values), under private governance”. The private governance of a protected area can include governance by individuals and groups of individuals, non-governmental organisations, corporations, including existing commercial companies and small companies established to manage groups of PPAs, for-profit owners such as ecotourism companies, research entities such as universities and field stations, or religious entities. The IUCN’s PPA Guidelines also acknowledge the existence of “many instances of shared governance arrangements that involve private governance in combination with other governance types, depending on the legal and institutional context for conservation in any country”. The motivations behind the establishment of PPAs by private landowners or land users can be philanthropic motives, cultural, religious or spiritual values, or because of economic or scientific interests.
Result based agri-environmental payment schemes
The principle behind results-based agri-environment payment schemes (RBAPS) is that the farmer or farm manager is given flexibility to choose the most appropriate practices to achieve a defined environmental result in exchange for a payment. The central difference fromm traditional payments is that they do not prescribe when or what a farmer has to do or not do in order to get a payment. The funding of these schemes can be from various sources i.e. public (e.g.CAP), national or regional funds, or even private initiatives. However, there is no single agreed definition of what constitutes a ‘results-based’ agri-environment payment scheme’. In Europe, different payment mechanisms based on different criteria/measurements of results have been applied.
Temporary nature / save harbour agreements
In the context of urbanization and industrialization, often large pieces of land designated for development remain undeveloped for years or decades. This private land could be transformed into temporary areas for nature conservation. The basic concept of temporary nature is to allow landowners derogations from the requirements of species conservation law before endangered species emerge on the property as a result of active management practices or no intervention measures which are voluntarily agreed by the landowner.The idea behind temporary nature is that some species/habitats of conservation interest are pioneers who quickly occupy ecological niches when they become available. These habitats/species benefit from dynamic short-term protection measures that can be accommodated on many otherwise commercially used properties, e.g. quarries, harbours, off-road racetracks, etc. Under a safe harbour agreement, landowners voluntarily propose to implement restorative and habitat management measures aimed at the conservation of threatened species. In return for restoring natural habitats of endangered species, the landowner is provided with a ‘safe harbour guarantee’, ensuring them that no additional conservation measures will be required, and no additional land, water or resource restrictions will be imposed if the number of listed species increases as a result of the landowner’s actions (Disselhoff, 2015).
The workshop was hosted by Terra Cypria, organized by LIFE ENPLC and involved the participation of the Cypriot government, EUROSITE members and project partners of LIFE ENPLC and took place during the annual Eurosite meeting.
A group photo showing participants of the Eurosite annual meeting.


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