Land Stewardship Networks

Environmental sustainability

Land stewardship is currently used as a combined farm development & nature / landscape conservation tool, especially in Catalonia and extending elsewhere in Spain and Europe. This methodology is grounded in voluntary agreements some more focused in habitat conservation & restoration, others oriented to a landscape and societal support to agriculture. All of them are based in a close engagement between farmers and local civic stewardship groups. This voluntary societal agreement mechanism is central to the social innovation, as it helps local communities to take care of nature and its sustainable use where public administrations do not, or cannot, support these conservation efforts. Regional Land Stewardship Networks developed in Spain following the model of the Catalonian Land Stewardship Network (XCT), which was the first one of these type of organisations created in Spain. Each one of the networks works for developing a stewardship model fitted to the social, cultural and natural characteristics of their territory. XCT was created as an association acting like a network to promote land stewardship open to all kinds of public and private organizations as well as individuals at the professional level. It grew from 33 funders up to +150 member organizations in less than 10 years. XCT operates with a board of members, specialized working groups and an ethical advisory committee. Besides the network itself the inclusion of the land stewardship concept, tools and different specific types of legally binding voluntary agreements has been central to the innovation. This happened at different administrative levels as a result of long and intense advocacy work. This is a process lead by local civic stewardship groups (land trusts), the network they created and the local society in rural areas. At national level there is the Spanish Platform of Land Stewardship and the Forum of Networks and Entities of Land Stewardship (FRECT). FRECT works as a networks of networks and constitutes a space for collaboration and debate around land stewardship in Spain. The Platform, which depends of the central government curates an inventory of land stewardship initiatives in Spain and seeks to collaborate with the networks, disseminate their work and promote the collaboration among them.

Networking, Assistance & Advice, Fundraising, Action-research
Public agencies, municipalities, local businesses, civic groups, etc.

- Strong farmer participation & involvement in the agricultural stewardship model & agreement from the beginning. - Ongoing social & institutional recognition by public institutions & civil society of land (and agricultural) stewardship as a powerful concept. - Dialogue and openness of the Mediterranean culture & society. - Civic & social engagement in the farms involved. - High Nature Value Farmland as a local issue, not only related to European habitat designation. - Very low link to CAP and RDP tools and money, that needs to be addressed.

* Information at the level of NUTS 3 or local regions.