Tag Archives: keystone species

Defining Rewilding

There has been a lot of talk recently about the definition of rewilding and the apparent lack of a definitive meaning for the movement that is gaining more and more traction in the public consciousness across the world right now.

For me, it has always been clear, but not something that can be summed up in a short sentence. So in the interests of clarity, here is my interpretation for which I believe there is a strong consensus.

Rewilding at its core is about the mass restoration of ecosystems, encompassing small, medium and large scale projects where natural processes are allowed to interact without ongoing human intervention; restoring land to its uncultivated and wild state to maximise biodiversity. The media has predictably diluted this message and instead fixated on the reintroduction of lost species – but this is just one, albeit important, ingredient for achieving the rewilding ideal. However, reinstating an ecosystem’s trophic function – and by that I mean the way in which predator, prey and plants interact – is a pivotal part of the rewilding model. Continue reading Defining Rewilding

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The Essence of Rewilding

As someone who has followed the rewilding debate with increasing interest over the last few years, I was recently struck by how polarised the discourse has become.  The ‘roots’ of rewilding appear to have been consumed by the attention-grabbing headlines of keystone species and apex predator reintroductions.  Generally speaking, there has been a tendency for the media to fixate on this, along with the social and cultural implications.  Meanwhile, the fundamental principles and common sense conservation practices that underpin rewilding are often lost or overlooked in the ensuing fallout. Continue reading The Essence of Rewilding

Yellowstone Wolf Population Continues To Rise

wolf-86624_1280According to the latest figures, 104 wolves spread across 11 packs now reside in the park, following their reintroduction from Canada in 1995.  Nine breeding pairs have also produced at least 40 surviving pups, further bolstering their colony against a legislative backdrop that could see their legal protection from hunting abolished.  The species was declared extinct in Yellowstone during 1926 following decades of intense persecution, triggering an ecological chain reaction that would adversely affect the biodiversity and overall health of the park’s wildlife.  Their reintroduction has dramatically restored much of what had been degraded, as I illustrated in a previous post: Yellowstone Revival.

Continue reading Yellowstone Wolf Population Continues To Rise

The Resurgence of the European Bison

Back in 1927, Europe’s largest land animal became extinct in the wild following centuries of habitat loss and overhunting.  A dozen individuals in captivity were subsequently bred across five zoos in the hope that one day, a viable population could be re-established.  Now in 2015, there are over 5500 Wisent – to use their correct European name – of which more than 2700 are in truly wild, free-ranging herds.  The magnificently primeval Bialowieza Forest which stretches across the border between Poland and Belarus, is once again a stronghold for them – having been home to 11 of the 12 Wisent removed during the early 20th Century to save the entire species.

Continue reading The Resurgence of the European Bison

Hollow Arguments From Rewilding Opponents

Today’s musing comes from having watched a commendably substantial news feature about the notion of rewilding on Britain’s Channel 4 news yesterday evening.  One argument voiced during the discussion against the ecological restoration ethos was:  why are we talking about reintroducing species that have become extinct when so many of our current species are endangered?  Won’t this be detrimental to our existing flora and fauna?  Should we not concentrate on conserving these creatures instead?  This is a point of view I’ve been hearing more and more recently from those opposing the rewilding plans, and I think it completely misses the point; as the rewilding movement serves to address the very issues that have led to the neglect of our native wildlife. Continue reading Hollow Arguments From Rewilding Opponents

REWILDING OUR MINDS

Here’s an interesting and illuminating discussion from BBC radio on the subject of rewilding, which is an ecological movement that’s gradually working its way into public discourse, especially here in Britain.  Feel free to share your views on the issue below.
Continue reading REWILDING OUR MINDS