In the last few years, rewilding has been talked about more and more – by conservation charities, media outlets, and even by the government.
But – what actually is rewilding? And what does it do to the environment? We’ve got everything covered in this one-stop guide.
SO… WHAT IS REWILDING?
Let’s start with the basics. Rewilding is a word used to refer to conservation efforts aimed at restoring and protecting natural processes and wild areas.
Simply put – righting all the wrongs humans have done over the last few centuries, and restoring the natural order of, well, nature.
OKAY, HOW IS REWILDING GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?
There are so many different forms of rewilding that it can be hard to boil it down – the truth is, there are loads of ways rewilding is good for the environment!
According to Rewilding Britain, “Wilder spaces can boost biodiversity, improve water quality, absorb carbon, and even reduce the impacts of climate breakdown such as flooding”.
DOES REWILDING MEAN LESS SPACE FOR HUMANS?
Absolutely not – in fact, Rewilding Britain says theres a huge amount of evidence to suggest that rewilding has great benefits for people.
“People are at the heart of rewilding,” says Hetti Riding, a spokesperson for Rewilding Britain. “There is a wealth of research that illustrates how strengthening connections with nature and spending time in wild places can dramatically improve our mental and physical health, and also the wellbeing of our communities.”
Not only that, but rewilding efforts also create plenty of job opportunities, especially in rural communities.
Analysis done by Rewilding Britain shows a 65% increase in full-time equivalent jobs since rewilding began, based on 50 rewilding projects around Britain.
WHAT CONSTITUTES AS REWILDING?
Rewilding is anything that helps encourage natural, environmental processes to take over; such as planting native wildflowers and allowing them to grow (which is great for biodiversity), putting logs in a shady space to decay naturally and be a home to insects, fungi, frogs and more, and encouraging cornerstone species.
“Nature is amazingly resilient, and has the ability to regenerate and recover well,” says Hetti. “So sometimes simply just ceasing activities that cause harm will allow nature to bounce back.”
CAN I REWILD AT HOME IN MY GARDEN?
Of course – in fact, it’s encouraged.
“We welcome rewilding at all scales, large and small. In fact, it’s estimated that gardens in Britain cover an area more than twice as large as all of our national nature reserves,” says Hetti. “With over half of our species in decline in Britain, and one in seven heading towards extinction, that space really matters.”
So let your grass grow, leave room for foxes, hedgehogs and more to pass through your garden, and let nature take control. For more tips on rewilding your garden, check out this page on the RewildingBritain website.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT REWILDING EFFORTS?
If you’ve already given up your garden to nature, or if you don’t have space to do so, there are still plenty of ways you can support rewilding efforts.
Contact your local council to encourage them to rewild, check online to see if there are places you are able to plant native wildflowers in spring and get out into nature to see what is going on in your local area.
If that’s still not enough for you, there are plenty of ways to support RewildingBritain and its projects, to help give Britain back to mother Earth, and let nature take its course.
This article aligns with the UN SDG Climate Action.