What Is Environmental Stewardship?



Environmental stewardship is a broad term that covers a range of actions undertaken by community groups, individuals and other organizations who support nature. The term can refer to strict environmental conservation or active restoration efforts. It is practiced locally and globally in rural and urban regions. While there are a variety of studies conducted on the subject however, the majority of them concentrate their research on a specific subset of the many different elements that can either aid or hinder the stewardship of the environment, such as ethics, motivations, capacity, networks, institutions and context (Sharpe and Conrad 2006; Friedlander et al. 2013; Silbernagel et al. 2015).

The most important aspect of environmental management is direct stewardship, like planting trees, removing unwanted species, protecting waterways, or restricting recreation in wilderness areas. These actions may also include informing people about the importance of environmental issues and encouraging civic participation such as writing letters to legislators or registering for candidates who are supportive of thoughtful environmental policies.

In addition to achieving ecological objectives like restoring a damaged ecosystem, actions of environmental stewardship may also produce social outcomes such as economic, health, cultural and governance benefits. For example, when purchasing foods from a local farmers’ market or a community-supported agriculture program consumers are taking part in environmental stewardship through the production of sustainable food and reducing the demand for semi-trucks to transport products across the country (Breslow and colleagues. 2016). In certain instances the results of stewardship can result in negative consequences. For example, in indigenous communities that depend on harvesting megafauna for livelihoods and identity A no-take conservation strategy may be antithetical to their holistic social-ecological worldview (Clarke 1999).).