Since its beginnings, Fundació Emys has worked for the conservation of nature, especially the European pond terrapin (Emys orbicularis) and its habitat. In this objective, land stewardship has been, and is, the methodology that has allowed the protection and study of the turtle populations of Riudarenes, as well as the creation of new wetlands, and the execution of various conservation and research projects. The land stewardship agreements, established between an environmental entity and a land owner, are a basic tool for carrying out projects for the restoration and protection of the environment in private spaces, with the participation or the implication of the property owner. Today Fundació Emys is a referent in the implementation of land stewardship and in the conservation and management of wetlands and Emys orbicularis.
Each year, we monitor the population of Emys orbicularis in la Selva in order to determine its conservation status and detect possible threats or problems for the species.
These monitoring campaigns have been carried out for more than 30 years, contributing to collect a series of data that allows us to better study and understand the needs of and threats to the species. For this reason, Emys Foundation maintains a collaboration with the aquatic ecology research group of the University of Girona (UdG) and hosts undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students of different universities.
One of the main tasks of the Fundació Emys is the management of natural spaces for the maintenance and improvement of habitats and their natural values. This task is especially important in order to restore those natural spaces that are degraded or in poor condition, and for the creation of new natural spaces of interest. An example is the restoration work on the riverside forest in areas where it is degraded, the creation of new spaces for amphibians, or the maintenance of the lands in land stewardship inhabited by the populations of Emys orbicularis.
In order to involve the different municipalities in the management and conservation of their natural heritage, an initiative is being developed that allows city councils to have a small annual fund to promote conservation and improvement projects for the environment.