What is Rewilding?
Rewilding is about restoring functional ecosystems, connecting natural landscapes, and reconciling people with nature.
Rewilding is a socio-ecological cause creating inspiring and empowering visions of a better future for people and the environment.
By seeking, recognizing and steering the recovering forces of nature, it can aid in reducing environmental, social, economic, and climatological problems.
Rewilding is the tool in the toolboxes of nature conservation and ecosystem restoration. It complements them. But besides conserving vulnerable ecosystems, rewilding aims at restoring lost habitats, their connectivity and at sustaining the positive effects on biodiversity and ecosystem resilience.
With rewilding, restored habitats, be it landscapes or seascapes are nature-lead. Rewilding lets nature lead in restoration efforts, making ecosystems’ recovery stronger, self-willed and self-sufficient.
Such ecosystems host rich biodiversity but recognize humans as an inseparable part of the natural transformation. By integrating humans in the restored landscapes, nature becomes resilient and recovers in ways that embrace humans as ecosystem engineers that contribute to the ways nature unravels.
Cultural and economic connections to landscapes are therefore an integral part of rewilding. Only by recognizing the wider socio-economic contexts can we reconnect people with healthy and balanced ecosystems.
Moreover, rewilding can also contribute to creating new nature-based economies that support and generate livelihoods of people.
What is rewilding to rewilding professionals?
According to the IUCN, rewilding is “the process of rebuilding, following major human disturbance, a natural ecosystem by restoring natural processes and the complete or near complete food-web at all trophic levels as a self-sustaining and resilient ecosystem using biota that would have been present had the disturbance not occurred.”
Rewilding is dedomestication of nature
Ecosystem restoration involves a paradigm shift in the relationship between humans and nature. The ultimate goal of rewilding is: “the restoration of functioning native ecosystems complete with fully occupied trophic levels that are nature-led across a range of landscape scales“.
Rewilded ecosystems should be “self-sustaining requiring no or minimum-intervention management (i.e. natura naturans or “nature doing what nature does”), recognising that ecosystems are dynamic and not static“.