In Rewilding Europe’s new Annual Review, Managing Director Frans Schepers outlines how scaling up rewilding can address some of our most pressing environmental, economic and social challenges.
Every day we are bombarded with negative news about the impact of human activity on the planet. Issues such as wildlife extinction, biodiversity loss, the catastrophic effect of climate change, soil degradation and plastic pollution fill the headlines. Underpinned by compelling scientific evidence, there is a growing global awareness of how hugely damaging human behaviour is putting the Earth, and all life on it, at risk.
In response, a powerful movement is emerging, based on an understanding that the planet’s life support systems must be allowed to recover. From young protesters in the streets demanding action right through to the United Nations General Assembly declaring 2021–2030 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, this movement is gaining momentum across the globe. Scientists are now calling for a “Global Deal for Nature” to solve two interconnected crises – biodiversity loss and climate change.
Rewilding – the large-scale restoration of ecosystems – has been put forward as an innovative and forward-looking way to address both of these challenges. Recent articles in highly respected publications such as Science and Philosophical Transactions B show how we can transform the degradation of our landscapes into a recovery.
We need to reset our systems to “upgrade mode”, giving natural processes the freedom to restore rivers, enable wildlife comeback, diversify monoculture forests and create revitalised environments where people can really thrive.
Through insightful feature stories and illustrative infographics, our new Annual Review shows how this upgrade can be achieved in practice. Progress in our own showcase rewilding areas, complemented by an increasing number of other European rewilding initiatives, demonstrates how European rewilding is becoming a burgeoning force for change, bringing a wide range of benefits for both wild nature and people.
Fittingly, Rewilding Europe is also upgrading itself as an organisation. After seven years of progress, we have set ourselves fresh targets and ambitions for the next seven. You can read more about our new growth scenario – titled “Rewilding Outlook 2025” – in the pages of Rewilding Europe’s Annual Review 2018.
Last but not least, we sincerely thank all of our partners, supporters, team and board members for the hugely encouraging accomplishments of 2018. Anticipating more great things in 2019 and beyond, we look forward to further productive collaboration with you as we work to make Europe a wilder place.
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