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Breaking Ground in France

An interview with our very own French Reforestation Partnerships Manager Margot Décory

Margot Décory is our in-house land access extraordinaire and one of the latest additions to the Land Life Company team. She’s had quite a journey, after volunteering in several countries for missions linked to wild animal protection and working as a lobbyist for an NGO, influencing European governments and bringing professionals together through a network called “The Knights of the Positive List”, she decided that while her efforts were having a positive impact, she wished to tackle problems at a broader scale. From helping animals to helping humans in protecting and restoring their own habitat. We spoke to her about the path that led her to us and what she’s going to be doing for Land Life. 

 

First off, tell me a little bit about yourself…

Hi! I come from the area of Bordeaux, France but I grew up mostly on the Atlantic coast where my family is from. Ten years ago I embarked on a journey when I started a Masters in European Animal Management based in the Engineer school of Purpan in Toulouse, which included six months at the University of Wageningen, NL. Ten years later, I am still in the Netherlands! 

Happens to the best of us! Tell us how you got from completing a Masters’s in Animal Sciences to working at Land Life Company?

The Masters contained a lot of science but was mainly oriented towards animal production rather than animal protection, which was more what I was looking for. So after graduating, I decided to volunteer in various structures and countries in order to understand where I could be useful. 

That took me on a lot of adventures until I found a volunteering position at a Dutch NGO specialized in animal welfare. I became a lobbyist in that same NGO and during those 5 years, I worked mostly with ministries of agriculture and environment across Europe in order to help them improve their legislation to better protect wild animals. It was an incredible opportunity to bring together professionals from all over the planet, having the same hopes for animals and nature. Collaborations and transversality are important to me which is why I initiated a network called The Knights of the Positive List. I enjoyed reading emails from politicians, scientists, or members of governments starting with “Dear Knights”. In addition to alleviating some gruesome topics, it forced inclusiveness and put everyone on an equal footing.

After feeling I had got a fairly good understanding of NGOs, scientists, governments and politicians, I was curious about businesses, so I went to work for 2 years at Booking.com as Change Manager. It was a tough and very formative experience but after COVID hit, I wanted to look for a job with a mission I felt passionate about, and that led me to Land Life Company.

In order to solve global challenges, I believe that we need a transdisciplinary and holistic approach to merging expertise.

Are there any specific accomplishments you are proud of in that first part of your career?

I published an article on Domestication after following another Master’s in Barcelona. The article gives an overview of the challenges that I had observed in the animal welfare sector: the lack of transversality in collaborations. Since then, I have observed the same struggles across many other fields. In order to solve global challenges, I believe that we need a transdisciplinary and holistic approach to merging expertise. That’s why I’m so happy to now focus on creating partnerships, I truly believe that it is the only way to accelerate our positive impact on the world. 

So now we know how you got here, can you tell me a little bit about your role at Land Life Company?

I am the Reforestation Partnerships Manager for France, which means that I am in charge of establishing collaborations with French stakeholders such as governmental entities, landowners (private or public), organizations already working on reforestation projects, nurseries and more. 

What is the aim of this role?

The aim is to help accelerate land restoration in France because even though it is quite a wooded country, forests have benefits that France could definitely take advantage of. Examples could be the use of forests to protect cultures or regenerate soils, mitigate climate change effects, prevent fires or protect biodiversity.

Considering the scale of the challenges humans face, no one entity is going to be able to solve everything alone, therefore I truly believe that the solution, at least partially, lies in establishing partnerships (partly also in diversifying the solutions implemented, reforestation being one of them).

What can you bring from your previous roles to enhance what you’ll be doing at Land Life Company?

I have worked in seemingly opposite structures, an NGO, and a multinational company as well as volunteering in several rescue centers across different countries. These experiences have helped me understand the points of view of all kinds of stakeholders, which allows me to find compromises and establish collaborations. 

Land Life Company is about restoring forests in the sense of ecosystems, with everything that entails for humans and biodiversity, while using a commercial and tech-based approach.

We think so too! So why Land Life Company and reforestation after these experiences?

What I have found in Land Life Company is a group of passionate people who are both ambitious and realistic. I like that we are transparent about our work, on the challenges that are faced and that decisions are based on science and data. 

This willingness to learn and improve at the core of this company is key for me. I wouldn’t want to work for a company that feels ok just planting trees or that is purely interested in creating carbon credits. Land Life Company is about restoring forests in the sense of ecosystems, with everything that entails for humans and biodiversity, while using a commercial and tech-based approach. My mission is to help Land Life Company in its endeavor by connecting stakeholders as we will only manage to restore nature if we join forces.

Can you explain a little bit why we are moving into France? What makes it a good location for planting projects?

France has quite a lot of forest coverage, however, there are important discrepancies in the repartition of the forests from one region to another. Forests help mitigate climate change, I think that it is important to help territories in their efforts toward more resilience. Moreover, many forests are used for wood production which is perfectly fine, but those are monocultures of trees that cannot expect to bring the same benefits that forests do. Finally, we believe that trees and forests are not yet used to their potential to mitigate floods, avoid freezing orchards or prevent fires. So our approach has several folds, protecting humans, cultures and biodiversity.

With that in mind, what are the 3 main points your future French collaborators should know about LLC?

In my opinion, the following three factors make LLC unique:

  1. We work with teams of scientists studying the climate, soil, trees species and much more parameters, and this for every single reforestation project to we adapt the mix of species that we plant.
  2. Our work is transparent so all our collaborators know exactly what to expect and our monitoring work is accessible on our platform.
  3. The projects that we develop/implement are long-term. We invest in the land and region, developing nurseries, bringing in experts and creating localized work in the areas we have projects.

Thank you Margot! If you’d like to find out more about our partnership work with landowners and other stakeholders, please visit our service page here.