Nature Returns: Bringing together innovative businesses and effective management of Protected Areas

The efficient management of Protected Areas is a complex process and difficult challenge that includes scientific and technical background, good management planning, financial resources, and acceptance by local communities and users. Very often, Protected Area managers lack human resources, struggle to find funding for their management, and feel distant from the local communities in terms of support and governance.

Nature Returns is a legacy project from the MAVA Foundation in collaboration with Nature Returns, EuroNatur and Connectology that aims to reduce or eliminate the impact of most common issues by using the Conservation Standards and finding innovative businesses to interact with. Creating businesses that contribute to managing Protected Areas through the involvement of local stakeholders and entrepreneurs brings many potential benefits: site managers save resources; entrepreneurs get a source of income; and local communities get environmentally friendly jobs and income which support their own livelihood.

Nature Returns will cover five sites: Lonjsko Polje (Croatia), Pico Island (Azores, Portugal), Principe (Sao Tome and Principe), Shar Mountain (North Macedonia) and Ulcinj Salina (Montenegro). The project will monitor and evaluate its effectiveness and publish the findings as an open-source toolkit for the conservation community, including examples of involving businesses that benefit conservation goals in Protected Areas.

For more information, contact Luís Costa, Nature Returns.