School of fish – Cultura Creative RF / Alamy Stock Photo.

Ecosystems support all life on Earth. The healthier our ecosystems are, the healthier the planet – and its people. But humanity stands at a crossroads.

Biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate, and the pressures driving this decline are intensifying.

Land and sea use change, exploitation of natural resources, climate change, pollution, and invasive species drive biodiversity loss. Human activity has significantly altered three-quarters of the Earth’s land and two-thirds of its marine environment, with a million animal and plant species now threatened with extinction, many within decades. And crucially, none of the 2020 UN global goals for protecting life on Earth and halting the degradation of land and oceans were met.

We still have time. The problems and solutions are known, but we must act now to repair the damage done – with scale and pace. Conserving the remaining pockets of wildlife-rich land is now no longer enough; degraded land and seas must be restored to bend the curve of biodiversity loss. We know that if barriers to restoration are halted, nature has a remarkable capacity to recover over time. Our efforts must be directed towards revitalising natural ecosystems and promoting robust species populations and habitats that will provide sustainable benefits for both nature and society, within the context of a changing climate and globalised economy.

Ecological restoration is a vision of hope for a brighter future. As a grantmaker, we are committed to playing our part in the global endeavour of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration to create lasting change. We support remarkable organisations that are working tirelessly to achieve international targets and mitigate ecological breakdown. Our goal is to be a progressive and flexible grant-maker helping to create lasting change by supporting evidence-based, practical, and transformational solutions for ecological protection and restoration. With the ERF strategy and targets 2030 as our high-level framework, we will help to provide a prosperous, greener future for all.

“We are the last generation that can prevent irreparable damage to our planet”

María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, General Assembly President

Lake and trees – Pascal Scholl, Unsplash.

Our approach

Ecological restoration takes resources, and organisations driving activities on the ground are often underfunded and face long-term financial insecurity.

Practitioners often face multiple barriers that keep them from maintaining or even scaling their projects. We work hard to identify the people and organisations best placed to make a difference. We help these practitioners make lasting, transformational change.

We want nature to be valued and cherished, which in turn will create local economic or cultural opportunities to enable long-lasting protection of these habitats and species. Therefore, we will support organisations protecting and restoring biodiversity in a variety of ways, whilst engaging local populations and promoting shared prosperity for both people and the environment.

We aim to align the Ecological Restoration Fund with international actions and intentions, including COP 15 targets and the ecosystem categories set out with the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.

A note from our Executive Director & Founder

Daniel Hotz, Executive Director & Founder, ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION FUND

Ecosystems have been described by David Quammen and others as akin to a Persian carpet; cut into tiny squares, you get not tiny carpets, but lots of useless scraps of material fraying at the edges. The flora and fauna population crashes and extinctions that we see today are signs of our ecosystems unravelling. Pollution, climate change, unsustainable agricultural practices and industrial growth amongst many other factors have contributed to our present ecological catastrophe.

Whilst biodiversity has an intrinsic value that goes beyond its utility to humanity, preserving and revitalising biodiversity has a positive impact on local communities. In fact, we now know that fully intact ecosystems with abundant and varied biodiversity are one of the most powerful levers in realising the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The restoration of biodiversity holds the key to unlocking solutions for pressing global challenges such as poverty eradication, water security, gender equality, food security, and climate change mitigation.

We must keep in mind that the environment links with all aspects of our lives – our health, well-being, fresh air, food, water, energy and economic prosperity. As J. M. Mackinnon, in The Once and Future World, proclaims, ‘Nature is not the backdrop to life, it is life itself: The community of living things, from microbes to megafauna, is endlessly producing oxygen, generating topsoil, stripping our chemical pollutants from the water, slowing erosion, controlling pests and amongst many more positive acts moderating climate change’.

Nature is indeed priceless, and that is why we at the ERF view it as essential to help accelerate the move toward a richer and wilder state of nature that will secure the stability and resilience of the planet and protect us and our fellow species.

Our team

  • Trustees

    • Daniel Hotz, Executive Director and Founder

      After completing his masters degree in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, Daniel Hotz became increasingly interested in well-directed philanthropic funding as a means to provide the most flexible capital and support for civil society.

    • Dr. Sigrid Rausing

      Founder of the Sigrid Rausing Trust, which supports human rights in repressive and transitional countries, and a range of other causes, including conservation.

    • Dr. Lisbet Rausing

      Co-founder of Arcadia Fund. Lisbet did her BA at UC Berkeley and her PhD at Harvard University, where she was a lecturer and assistant professor in the history of science.

  • Senior Management

    • James Byrne CEnv, MCIEEM, FLS

      James advises the Trustees and manages the grant-making process. An ecologist by training, James has over 20 years’ experience working for some of Europe’s biggest environmental NGOs.