The Regional Landscape Kempen and Maasland | Director | Belgium
Hundreds of nature reserves in densely populated areas across Europe are falling into neglect and are threatened because of the limited resources available for their promotion and maintenance. Ignace Schops has found a way to dramatically enhance both the environmental and economic value of these areas. In the province of Limburg, Belgium, he piloted the first citizen movement in Europe to claim the custody of a nature reserve. In doing so, he has mobilised a new generation of entrepreneurs to create calibrated investments that foster business opportunities while supporting local ecological quality. Ignace is now using this park as a development model adaptable to small and large nature spots and reserves in densely populated regions across Europe.