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  1. Impact Philanthropy
September 9, 2013updated 01 Feb 2016 10:16am

Conservation Philanthropists Preserve Wildernesses

By Spear's

We present to you the successful entrepreneurs who have put their money where their mouths are to conserve and restore some of the last wildernesses on earth


We present to you the successful entrepreneurs who have put their money where their mouths are to conserve and restore some of the last wildernesses on earth

Scroll to the bottom to see large photos of the conserved wildernesses

JOHAN ELIASCH: Cool Earth, South America; 3.4 million acres protected

Johan Eliasch, chairman and CEO of sporting-goods group Head, founded Cool Earth to work with local communities to protect forests around the world. He was the UK government’s special representative for deforestation and clean energy from 2007-10.

Click here to read what Johan Eliasch wrote about why he funds global conservation

JOHANN RUPERT: Peace Parks, southern Africa; 247 million acres in his foundation

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Worth £4.3 billion, the 62-year-old founder of Richemont is also the chairman of the Peace Parks Foundation, a vast African conservation area covering large swathes of Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe, which is of sufficient scale to incorporate several different ecosystems. Taken together, the Peace Parks are almost as large as France and Spain combined.

LUC HOFFMAN: Tour du Valat, France; 6,400 acres

La Tour du Valat, a centre for research into the conservation of the Mediterannean’s marshy ecosystem, is situated in the heart of the Camargue in the south of France and was created in 1954 by Luc Hoffman.

It extends over nearly 2,600 hectares, in which a jigsaw of thousands of the Camargue’s natural features takes shape, including rare and threatened habitats such as standing pools and large areas of freshwater and brackish water.

The extraordinary fauna and flora endemic to this area have evolved over millennia, with more than 600 species of plant, 1,500 invertebrates and 400 vertebrates. In July 2008, 1,845 hectares became a Regional Natural Reserve. It is of international importance for several species of waterbirds.

FELIX DENNIS: Heart of England; 1,900 acres

The owner of Dennis Publishing has planted innumerable broadleaf saplings across 1,900 acres in South Warwickshire. His plan is to expand the area to 20,000 acres, at which point he will open the forest to the public.

Felix Dennis has written a poem celebrating conservation:

Whosoever plants a tree
Winks at immortality.
Woodland cherries, flowers ablaze,
Hold no hint of human praise;
Hazels in a hidden glade
Give no thought to stake or spade;
London planes in Georgian squares
Count no patrons in their prayers;
Seed and sapling seek no cause,
Bark and beetle shun applause;
Leaf and shoot know nought of debt,
Twig and root are dumb — and yet
Choirs of songbirds greet each day
With eulogies, as if to say:
‘Whosoever plants a tree
Winks at immortality!’

ANDERS HOLCH POVLSEN: Leaota, Romania; 62,000 acres

The Danish fashion magnate, worth £4 billion, is not only Britain’s second biggest landowner, he is also the protector of vast swathes of the Carpathian Mountains, including a 15km-long stretch of alpine grasslands, surrounded by natural forests where wolves, bears, lynx,
red deer and chamois still thrive.

Anders Holch Povlsen told Spear’s: ‘My family and I feel very privileged in many ways and with this comes responsibilities and obligations. For many years, through the BESTSELLER Fund and our family’s activities, we have been engaged in our society in different ways. We have a desire and an ambition to add another perspective to our engagements.

‘Therefore, we have established the organisation Wildland, which will be focusing on purchasing land to protect it against exploitation and to preserve its wild nature. Nature and its beauty are the world’s greatest assets. I believe in the importance of protecting our natural environment, and I acknowledge that above all else we depend on nature.

‘This is particularly true for wilderness which is still untouched — natural environments where the entire ecosystem and landscapes’ biological integrity are intact.’

DOUG AND KRIS TOMPKINS: Pumalin, Chile; 756,000 acres

Having founded the North Face and Esprit, Doug Tompkins has gone on to create Pumalín Park, a 756,000-acre nature sanctuary in the temperate rainforest of south Chile, with his wife Kris.

PAUL LISTER: Alladale, Scotland; 23,000 acres

The son of one of the co-founders of MFI, Lister is re-wilding Alladale, a 23,000-acre estate in the Highlands, where he intends to introduce wolves, bears and lynx.

‘Ninety-nine per cent of Scottish woods have disappeared over the last 1,000 years,’ Lister tells Spear’s. ‘So the only way we can go is to try to plant things and re-create a natural woodland.’ At Alladale, ‘the vision has always been to put priority on nature and environment, rather than man’s extractive needs of planting, shooting and fishing.’

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