While preparing the latest URBACT Biannual report, we came upon an interesting non-for-profit organization – Xarxa de Custòdia del Territori – working to foster land stewardship as a conservation strategy for the natural, cultural and landscape resources and values of Catalonia and its environment.
Established in 2003, Xarxa de Custòdia del Territori helps to develop land stewardship, a mechanism that materializes voluntary agreements between individual landowners and local authorities (municipalities, associations, etc.), in which they are transferring land management to civic organizations created in order to maintain and preserve it.
Although it is the government that is almost exclusively in charge of biodiversity conservation, nearly all of the ecological wealth is on private land, whose owners in general have neither the vocation nor the means to preserve, protect and/or recover. This factor makes it essential to involve the owners and users in the preservation of our natural, cultural and landscape heritage.
The first 34-member group was created in 2003. Today, the network is made up of 162 members (associations, foundations, municipalities, companies and individuals) and has achieved more than 700 Land Stewardship agreements in Spain.
The members’ diversity helps to deal with specific issues such as marine, river or land stewardship. The Land Stewardship Forum aims to promote land stewardship in the institutions and social partners throughout Spain, boost networking and develop joint projects.