What is

land stewardship?

Land stewardship promotes the idea that biodiversity conservation is compatible with human activity, encouraging the engagement of everyone who works in and is familiar with a specific environment.

Land stewardship integrates with the network of national, regional and local protected areas, allowing private landowners and users to actively and freely take part in preserving nature and landscapes.

Habitats are maintained and rehabilitated by means of voluntary agreements between owners or users of a land and Land Stewardship organizations.
Nowadays, Land Stewardship is widespread throughout the world as a tool for land management and planning.

The concept comprises several approaches, all looking to those cases in which the necessity of preserving the territory can’t be dissociated from the social and economic context.

Become an Orchid Steward

Who can become a Steward? Private stakeholders, companies, associations, municipalities, public institutions.

Being a Steward implies voluntarily preserving the land you own: your home garden, a forest, a meadow or a farming field, in order to protect and restore habitat 6210 (dry semi-natural grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates), rich in orchids which are considered flagship species in such environment.

With the signing of a voluntary commitment, an actual agreement with Legambiente Lombardia, representative of the project consortium, the Orchids Steward takes on a leading role in the care and protection of land.

The stewardship agreement

The agreement states that the Orchids Steward and the project consortium commit, towards the community, to preserve the territory that the Steward owns. This in order to guarantee the ideal environmental conditions for the presence and diffusion of spontaneous orchids.

The agreements are tailored to the ownership’s characteristics and to the objectives of each party involved. Terms of the agreement can be modified and negotiated.

A few characteristics in common are that the agreements are written; their duration can vary, even if at least 10 years are recommended in order to ensure that efforts from both parties last a long time and to carry out effective conservation practices.

When the Steward signs the agreement, he/she allows the project partnership to use reference date of the land and the essential characteristics of the area and possibly the Stewart’s contact details (names) for analyses and study purposes, thus cooperating to the planned activities.

Become a steward without owning a land

If you are not landowner but you want to contribute personally to protect and preserve the natural habitats of spontaneous orchids, you can actively take part in the project.

Educational campaigns, learning sessions, monitoring and « citizen science » initiatives will be implemented. In addition, volunteer activities and support actions during intervention in the places to safeguard will be suggested.

In this way, a collaborative network will be set up with landowners in order to reach the project’s goals: to restore habitat 6210 and reinforce the communities of local spontaneous orchids.

The advantages of Land Stewardship for nature

Many initiatives of Land Stewardship preserve biodiversity through the protection of habitats. This is probably the main objective of many Conservation Agreements and one of the key elements specified in many UE directives.

Land Stewardship is also able to protect outdoors and natural areas that more fragile due to socio-economic pressures, by acting as a voluntary mechanism.

Moreover, it plays a key role in the agricultural world as well, where sustainable practices may lead to an improvement of the quality of soil and water.

The advantages of Land Stewardship for landowners and users

Engaging in Land conservation brings both intangible and concrete benefits.
It is in fact highly gratifying in terms of social recognition, personal satisfaction and of sharing one’s passion.

At the same time, joining the Stewards network allows to gain visibility for nature-friendly productions, to promote Land Stewardship as an activity of a multifunctional agricultural practice, and possibly to receive support in seeking sources of funding.

Once the membership is established, the Steward will receive a certificate, information about the project, noticeboards and stickers to identify the area, management handbooks and guidelines.

Training sessions will be organized, and also meetings to share knowledge and experience among the participants. If necessary, the project consortium will be able to provide advice, suggestions about intervention and land care.

Already orchids steward


Alessandro Castagnino

Jacopo Calevo

Miriam Bazzicalupo

Andrea Copetta