What is rewilding?

Rewilding means different things to different people. Rewilding is the restoration of ecosystems (wild places) where nature can take care of itself. The rewilding concept seeks to break free from our long held beliefs that wildlife must be managed in a prescriptive way. Instead, we have realised that if given the freedom and space, nature finds an amazing balance that gives life a new lease of life! 

Loopholes in nature

Critical to the success of rewilding is the reintroduction of animals that we have lost from our wild places! We are finally realising that when we killed off the last wolf, bear, wild boar, elephant, and beaver in this country (yes, they all thrived here once), we killed far more than the animals themselves! This is because large animals that eat vegetation or hunt other animals effectively engineer the ecosystem as they wander around. They trample, chew, scare, rub, dig, build, and chop their way through the wild, creating new habitats that are the homes for ever more animals, plants, and fungi to thrive! When they disappeared so did nature’s ability to build homes for the intricate web of life. The result? A slow but continual decline in biodiversity over a thousand years, unseen by us yet overseen by the life of a single Oak tree. While the oak lives on, bears and wolves remain in the UK only in our folklore, language, and imaginations.

Wildlife engineering through people power!

We were once part of nature. Before Ocado was a thing, we hunted and fished, and foraged in the wild. We were undoubtedly ecosystem engineers alongside wolves, bears, boars and beavers. We almost certainly made our ecosystems richer just by hanging out in loin cloths! Doing so brought us more food to eat and clean water to drink. One of the first sentences we ever constructed was probably “This is a no brainer!” Admittedly things went a bit awry. Eventually we killed too many of the animals, cut down lots of the trees, invented factories and made concrete! Somewhere along the line we forgot that we were a part of nature and lost touch with most of its benefits. 

But fear not. Now we are back and ready to play in the woods again! But those woods don’t look the same. We’ve parcelled up our land in to bite sized chunks that are fenced off and uninviting for some of our lost mega species. But that doesn’t mean we can’t rewild for nature in a way that would make a wolf proud! All we need to do is think like a lynx, gather sticks like a stork, lever timber like a beaver, and be as happy as a pig in; well, you know what; and nature will do the rest!

Big animals in small spaces!

And the joy of this approach is that we can do it anywhere! We can replicate the processes of our wild ancestors and the wildlife they revered on a windowsill, a vegetable plot, a road verge, a school playground or a back garden! We can work out all sorts of cool ways in which large animals ate, slept, and danced through our landscape in the good old days and simply do the same things ourselves! The more ideas we come up with that replicate nature, the more nature will return to us! 

Let's live a wilder life

Wilderlife will give you some of the ideas to make this happen, but we also want you to come up with your own! Doing so is the absolute best way to understand why rewilding is so important, and why being a wilder person means that you enjoy a more fulfilling life!

So step out, let your imagination run wild, and engineer a wilder future!

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