Benefits for people & nature
Benefits for landowners and land users
Land stewardship offers deeply rewarding benefits for both landowners and land users, such as improvement of their lands, social acknowledgement, learning or personal satisfaction.
Benefits can also be of an economic nature, including free-of-cost conservation actions or economic benefits. The most obvious types of economic benefits are subsidies, incentives, tax exemptions or other compensation for taking certain actions. Stewardship organisations can also help landowners with volunteering work.
Stewardship can also generate economic benefit through market approaches, encouraging people to buy locally from producers, or to use ecotourism, outdoor learning, involved in stewardship agreements. Land stewardship can, therefore, be part of the new social green economy.
Stewardship benefits can be intergenerational, with long-term or even perpetual (in certain countries) agreements. Besides, land stewardship initiatives also offer a lot of benefits to the wider public, in terms of nature, health, educational and ethical benefits for those who come closer to nature.
Benefits for nature
Many stewardship initiatives conserve biodiversity through the protection of habitats. This is perhaps the most straightforward objective of many stewardship agreements, and the driving force behind many European directives.
Similarly, stewardship can protect open space and fragile natural areas in the face of development pressures, especially in areas where planning controls are weak. In this case, stewardship acts as a voluntary mechanism in unison with regulatory tools. Stewardship can also play a role in responsible farming, and in the long term, it can improve the quality of the soil and underground water, and ensure local food production.
Sustaining traditional land uses, which often involve high nature value farming and small-scale forestry, are often a focus of land stewardship organisations because they recognise the importance for its ecological, economic and scenic values.
Photo: Brendan Dunford
Read more about the benefits for nature and people in the online Land Stewardship Manual.