The impact of land stewardship
Land stewardship is currently used in the combined practice of farming and exploitation of land and as a tool for environmental conservation, especially in Catalonia, the island of Menorca (Balearic Islands) and the Madrid region, and in certain places in the rest of Spain. This approach is applied with variations by 100 farmers and 20 land stewardship organisations, some more centred on conservation and restoration of the habitat, others more orientated towards maintenance of the landscape and civic support for farming and farmers. All this is based on a firm commitment (stewardship/sustainable farming practices agreement) between farmers and local civic land stewardship groups.
Innovative actions, goals and operational aspects of the project:
- Land stewardship is a method of promoting farming management systems that strike a balance between the goals of economic viability combined with conservation of the environment and biodiversity.
- Voluntary stewardship agreements on sustainable farming practices between the farmer or owner and a land stewardship organisation (land trust); both parties undertake to achieve the greatest environmental value possible based on a list of measures.
- The agreement makes it possible for other interested parties to collaborate: consumers, volunteers, public institutions and companies from other sectors.
- Stewardship organisations, farmers and/or owners undertake to control the environmental and conservation effects of the agreements.
- The creation of regional networks with the land stewardship entities and farmers makes it possible to extend support measures such as social marketing tools and messages; instruments of social trade (stewardship market); educational activities at farms; advice and capacity building; and political and social impact.