The benefits and risks of rewilding

Rewilding aims to restore healthy ecosystems by creating wild, biodiverse spaces. It rebuilds ecosystems that have previously been modified by human disturbance, using the plant and animal life that would have been present had the disturbance never occurred. In doing so rewilding restores the natural processes that provide humanity with clean air, water, food, shelter and medicine. This idea of reversing biodiversity loss and creating wild landscapes by allowing nature to reclaim areas no longer under human management has gained much attention as an optimistic approach to conservation. Well-intentioned governments, NGOs, communities and individuals are more frequently adopting ‘rewilding’ strategies but the principles are inconsistently defined, and often misrepresented and misapplied.