Land stewardship network is currently used worldwide as a tool for biodiversity conservation either privately or at government level. It is an ethic of stewardship that fosters a responsible use and protection of the natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices. This field of conservation shares its grounds with land ethic that foster for ethic use of farmland that promote sustainable agriculture and develop sustainable communities.
Therefore, the European Commission’s LIFE programme approved in 2011 the LandLife project (LIFE10 INF/ES/540) that aimed to spread the concept of land stewardship among landowners, public and private organizations and a wider public in general (e.g. citizens). The mission was to reach a level wherein land stewardship is applied in such a way and on such a scale that it helps to achieve the European target to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020.
Based on such information, the LIFE CHARCOS project is also planning to create a Temporary Pond Stewardship in the Southwest Coast of Portugal that will benchmark the afterlife project and ensure long term conservation practices that favors MTP.
The start point is to gather, spread and promote knowledge about land stewardship and its usefulness as an approach for involving citizens, landowners and users, NGOs, site managers and local groups in nature conservation. It will be necessary to identify and gather all the interested parties on MTP that might contribute towards their preservation, while enjoying and enhancing their presence in the territory or even getting some advantageous outcome. The principle of joint responsibility in the management of natural resources is the key factor: values such as ‘safekeeping’, ‘respect’, 'sharing’, ‘involvement’ and ‘compromise’, make the Temporary Pond Stewardship an innovative and useful strategy to support the conservation and management of land by the involvement of the interested parties (stakeholders).
This strategy is particularly important because ownership of many Natura 2000 sites typically involves a range of people and organizations, depending on circumstances, proper management of Natura 2000 will include joint working. Therefore, voluntary forms will be available to every interested party in order to identify safekeeping entities and individual helpers that are motivated to ensure the maintenance and restoration of MTP natural values. This network will provide the involved parties with the means to allow harmonizing their economic activities with conservation of MTP.
What is the origin of Land Stewardship Network?
Land stewardship network is based on the concept that nature conservation and biodiversity are compatible with human activities, encouraging the involvement of people who live, work and know their land (Sabaté et al., 2013) to implement uses that are beneficial to nature.
The central principle on which the land stewardship network is based is co-responsibility in the management of natural resources. In the essence of land stewardship network are concepts such as "treat", "respect", "share", "manage resources", "responsibility", "trust", "commitment" and "involvement" (Sabaté et al., 2013). Thus, in the broadest sense, the land stewardship network applied to natural resources can be understood as "citizens who care for the land" (Racinska et al., 2015).
Land stewardship network intends to involve owners and "users" of the territory (farmers, foresters, herders, hunters, fishermen, tourists, visitors or others) in nature and landscape conservation (Racinska et al., 2015), Greater involvement of civil society to integrate and value nature conservation in everyday life.
In this way, the land stewardship network approach aims to promote the direct involvement of individuals, either individually or collectively through institutions, companies or other organizations, to "take care of" nature (Sabaté et al., 2013).
Land stewardship network can cover a wide range of private or public-private approaches to foster the responsibility of users and owners to manage and protect natural resources.
The values to be guarded / protected may include habitats or species of common interest in view of their rarity, their vulnerability, their conservation status, their beauty, among other criteria. Examples of natural values to be guarded are habitat areas favorable to the Iberian lynx, Iberian Imperial eagle hunting areas, streams of saramugos, cereal agricultural areas for the steppe birds or the Mediterranean Temporary Ponds that are a habitat that hosts rare plants, endangered amphibians, reptiles, micromammals and endemic large branchiopods, among other species.
As all territories have their own characteristics, with specific contexts and cultures, there is no single model of land stewardship network that should be applied in all circumstances (Sabaté et al., 2013) and replicated in the same way. Thus, it makes sense for each situation to find the best way to maximize the potential of the Land Stewardship, in order to involve the widest possible range of entities (public and private) and citizens.
What is the goal of the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network?
The Stewardship Network for the conservation of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds (MTP) in the Southwest Coast of Portugal aims to promote and reinforce the compatibility and harmony between development of socioeconomic and cultural activities and the conservation of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds and its species.
This initiative will contribute towards changing the behaviours of some stakeholders, making them active in the conservation of this habitat, changing their opinion on Mediterranean Temporary Ponds being “harmful” to their activities and increasing their environmental responsibility.
Who can join the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network?
Anyone or any groups interested in collaborating in the conservation of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds may join the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network, with the participation of individuals and entities whose socioeconomic activity takes place in the intervention area of the project – Site of Comunity Importance of the Southwest Coast of Portugal, in order to potentiate the compatibilization of their activities with the conservation of this habitat.
All the collaborators in the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network will be very important for the development of the proposed compromises, making them promoters of the conservation of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds and recognising it as an added value to the application and propagation of proactive attitudes in favour of nature.
How can I join the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network?
By filling-in the membership form.
What can I do as a member of the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network?
The members of the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network may organize events, carry out volunteering actions, distribute promotional materials, adopt favourable measures to the conservation of this habitat, promote the Mediterranean Temporary Ponds through social media channels, or any other activity that contributes to raising awareness to this habitat and conserving its species.
Joining the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network is mandatory?
No. Joining the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network for the conservation of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds in the Southwest Coast of Portugal is strictly voluntary.
Do I have to pay to join the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network?
No. Joining the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network is free.
How is joining the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network formalized?
Through a Stewardship Agreement, establishing the basis of action for the contribution of future member of the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network placed inside the online form.
How long does the membership of the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network last?
Membership in the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network for the conservation of the Mediterranean Temporary Ponds in the Southwest Coast of Portugal is uninterrupted and lifelong since the date of filling in the online form but may be terminated by any of the parties at any time.
What are the commitments of the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network?
Each member establishes its commitments with the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network. These may include:
- Collaborating in raising environmental awareness and disseminating good practices related to the conservation of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds and nature in general;
- Distributing dissemination materials voluntarily;
- Including the conservation of the Mediterranean Temporary Ponds in the management model of their activities and/or properties, in order to make them compatible with the preservation of this habitat;
- Promoting the adoption of these behaviours to third parties;
- Sponsor a Temporary Pond by actively participating in the ecological monitoring of this habitat as well as its conservation status;
- Supporting the implementation of the LIFE Charcos project as well as other projects that aim to protect this habitat;
- Keeping their contact information such as address, email and phone updated;
For companies and organizations:
- Providing their logo and contacts for dissemination in the LIFE Charcos Project’s website;
- Receiving and exhibiting the dissemination materials of the project;
What does the LIFE Charcos Stewardship Network make available to its members?
- Information on the conservation of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds;
- Information and technical assistance in the definition of management models compatible with the conservation of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds;
- Exchange of experiences, ideas and search for solutions to common problems;
- Supply of dissemination materials produced within the scope of the Stewardship Network and projects such as the LIFE Charcos Project for exhibition or free distribution.