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Published: 29 Jul 2015

Rewilding - an introduction

Rewilding is about inspiring and engaging people to restore natural processes

Rewilding is about inspiring and engaging people to restore natural processes. This means repairing damaged ecosystems and reintroducing lost species. It covers the restoration of native woodlands and high mountain habitats such as dwarf birch and montane scrub. It also covers the reintroduction of former native species such as the beaver, sea eagle, lynx or wolf.

A natural process is the way nature works when left to her own devices. You can’t build a natural process but you can create conditions to help them reassert themselves.

For example, we aim to maintain deer numbers at levels the land can sustain. Deer need woodland and woodland needs deer. It’s more sensible to reduce deer numbers where possible than to build fences to separate them.

We also favour natural tree regeneration where birds, animals and wind spread the seeds instead of humans. Sometimes we have to kick-start a process. So where land is suitable for woodland but seed sources are no longer present, we'll plant seedlings. This is what we did on  Knoydart 25 years ago with amazing results.

Helping nature flourish is a long-term process. It's essential if we want to help species adapt to climate change. And to have healthy ecosystems provide us with fresh air, clean water, carbon storage and a whole lot more.