Rewilding Principles & Outcomes
1. Natural Grazing Systems
Rewilding means natural densities of free-roaming herbivores and omnivores. Rewilding recognises the disproportionate impact of large animals on an ecosystem. Cattle, ponies & pigs act as ecological proxies for their wild ancestors (auroch, tarpan & wild boar), alongside red & roe deer. Furthermore, elk and bison would be potential large herbivores in any rewilding project.
2. Reintroducing Lost Species
Rewilding looks to reintroduce lost species that are key to ecosystem functioning. Beavers, pine marten, red squirrels, golden eagles are some examples.
3. Community Resilience, Participation & Agency
Rewilding offers opportunities for diversification in local economies, making them more resilient. Rewilding at scale should always have the participation of local communities at its core.
4. Scale & Cooperation Between Landowners
Rewilding works best at scale. Landowners working cooperatively means more space for nature and allows natural processes to take place more effectively. Tir Natur will advocate for farm clusters - working together is the best way to recover nature.
5. Letting Nature Lead
Rewilding puts nature in the driving seat. Once certain processes are restored, nature is not managed or manipulated. Unlike many conservation efforts, individual species or habitats are not specifically targeted for protection. Trust that nature knows best. There's only a few hundred million years of evidence that this is true.
6. In It For The Long Haul
Rewilding relies on a rare human trait; patience. Whereas nature has a great capacity to recover itself, we need to give it the time it needs to heal.
7. Everyone Has a Role to Play
Rewilding is inclusive of everyone. We can all play a part in the recovery of nature, which for too long has been seen as the sole responsibility of conservationists.
8. Connecting People & Nature
Rewilding not only recovers ecosystems themselves, but our place within them. For nature to thrive into the future, society must reconnect with it. It must relearn to empathise with nature so that we don't repeat past mistakes.
9. Learning From The Past
Rewilding does not look to replicate a specific landscape or ecosystem in history, rather it reintroduces natural processes that allow nature to be dynamic into the future. However, we must look to the past to establish what these processes are. We must learn from our mistakes, and the ways in which we have unravelled the complex web of life.
The statistics are devastating. 1,000,000 species at risk of extinction globally. Wales ranked 224th out of 240 countries for biodiversity intactness. Rewilding offers hope. It is time for a new narrative, a reimagining of what is possible to achieve in our landscapes.
Rewilding, unlike traditional conservation, does not have fixed outcomes, but more abstract ones. There is not a target for a specific number of a particular species. Instead, the rewilding approach looks to restore ecosystem function and therefore the overall biodiversity and bio abundance of an area.
1. Structural & species diversity
2. Niches & microhabitats restored
3. Dynamic ecosystems that change and evolve over time
4. Ecosystems that are resilient and adaptable to climate change
5. A mosaic of complex, evolving habitats
6. Recovery of lost, native species
7. Natural landscapes for everyone to enjoy
8. Recovering ecosystems' functions
9. People reconnected to wild nature with a restored sense of well-being
10. More resilient, lower input farm systems
Photo credits in order - Wet Exmoor Pony (Rugh Chamberlain), Deer (Knepp Wildlands)