Tag Archives: Rewilding

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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Scotland: The Big Picture

I was recently asked to join the SCOTLAND: THE BIG PICTURE team as a Contributing Writer and subsequently appeared in their introductory film above. As Scotland begins its rewilding journey, STBP exists as a multimedia hub combining ecological science with compelling narratives and the finest imagery to tell inspiring stories that amplify the case for a wilder Scotland.

Continue reading Scotland: The Big Picture

Shining A Light On The Red Squirrel

Image courtesy of SCOTLAND: THE BIG PICTURE.Image courtesy of SCOTLAND: THE BIG PICTURE.

Every now and again, you come across a book that is more than just a book.  Something that transcends its primary purpose.  A real labour of love.  The Red Squirrel: A future in the forest is such a book, and much like its subject matter, it needs your help.  A crowdfunding campaign is currently underway to secure the funds required to get the photo book into publication, with just 25 days remaining.  You can find out more about the project and how to contribute to it here.      Continue reading Shining A Light On The Red Squirrel

Rewilding on Dirk Hartog Island

Heartened to hear about an ambitious project to reintroduce 11 locally extinct species to Dirk Hartog Island, off the coast of Western Australia.  The ten mammals and one bird species were once endemic to the island, but their populations declined rapidly following overgrazing by introduced sheep and goats, and from predation by feral cats.  The long-term goal of the ecological restoration project is to return the island’s ecosystem back to how it would have looked and functioned when Dutch explorer, Dirk Hartog, discovered it by chance in 1616. Continue reading Rewilding on Dirk Hartog Island

Rewilding Lessons In Risnjak

Having recently returned from a nature-orientated trip to Croatia, the subject of rewilding, and in particular, the proposed Lynx reintroduction here in the UK, has been on my mind. The highlight was a day spent exploring the magnificent – and truly wild – Risnjak National Park. Apart from being a prime example of a thriving forest ecosystem brimming with biodiversity, it was also the setting for Croatia’s own Eurasian Lynx resurgence, originating from the release of six animals from Slovakia into Slovenia in 1973.

Continue reading Rewilding Lessons In Risnjak

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

Tayside Beavers Being Shot By Farmers

Disappointed to read in the latest copy of BBC Wildlife Magazine that a thriving colony of 200 wild beavers in the Tayside region of Scotland are being killed, due to the perceived risk they pose to crops and farmland.  My immediate reaction: this situation could have been avoided.  The first sightings of their return to the region were recorded as far back as fifteen years ago – allowing plenty time for a plan to be put in place to minimise any conflicts.  Yes, farmers have a right to protect their livelihood and a compensation scheme should have been set up to reimburse farmers, gamekeepers and landowners for any damage to their produce and land.  No such scheme was implemented, as this colony is an unlicensed population, unofficially reintroduced either deliberately or accidentally from private collections.  The Beaver is after all a native species and should not be culled for simply following its natural instincts.

Continue reading Tayside Beavers Being Shot By Farmers

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

Garden Rewilding

General June 2015 225

There’s been a lot of talk recently in Britain about grand plans for ‘ecological restoration’.  But what about rewilding on a smaller scale?  At a time when our garden wildlife is suffering from the effects of overly manicured lawns, pesticide-laden vegetation and a general lack of habitat connectivity, there’s never been a better time to inject some much needed wildness into your garden.  Here are some suggestions on how to go about it and some information on the species that could benefit as a result. Continue reading Garden Rewilding