ARK Nature and Rewilding Europe are going to work more closely together on the rewilding of Europe. A renewed partnership agreement to boost the cooperation between the two organizations was signed early July by Petra Souwerbren, Director of ARK Nature and Frans Schepers, Managing Director of Rewilding Europe.
ARK Nature is one of the initiating partners of Rewilding Europe and started its significant support to the initiative already in 2010. ARK Nature recognizes Rewilding Europe as a priority within its own conservation strategy and European wide programme portfolio. Rewilding Europe recognizes ARK Nature as one of the leading and pioneering rewilding organizations in Europe, with a large amount of practical knowledge and experience it can build on. ARK Nature is specialized in bottom-up nature development based on natural processes, linked to economic and social development in the regions in which rewilding takes place both in the Netherlands and in Europe.
The new partnership between the two organizations will further build on the cooperation that has been built up over the past three years, and will further increase the sharing of each other’s knowledge, skills, experience and networks with a number of additional activities.
The new partnership agreement is in support of the overall goal of the Rewilding Europe initiative: to create, by 2020, a network of at least 10 rewilding areas that become inspirational examples for other areas in Europe. Rewilding Europe can make use of and scale up innovative ideas developed by ARK (such as specific scientific, educational and practical networks), while ARK can benefit of being part of a European initiative and make use of the outreach and knowledge of Rewilding Europe – such as its international communications and enterprise network.
The budget for concrete activities in the coming three years is more than 550.000 Euro of which Rewilding Europe contributes more than 200.000 Euro and ARK almost 350.000 Euro.
ARK Nature will make available to Rewilding Europe the (remaining) budget of the project ‘The Green Treasuries of Europe’. With the signing of the agreement, the European Wildlife Bank is now formally established and the handing over of large herbivore herds that are part of the ARK Herd Fund to Rewilding Europe will now start to happen. The ARK Herd Fund has proven to be an attractive model to scale up natural grazing as a natural process in a growing number of rewilding pilots and nature reserves.
Another important activity in the renewed partnership is the setting up op the European Rewilding Network, to support the active sharing of information, knowledge and experience between many larger and smaller rewilding initiatives across Europe.
Furthermore, the future prospects for the rewilding areas will be visualized through artist impressions to clarify aspirations and expectations towards local partners, investors and other stakeholders.
ARK Nature will share with Rewilding Europe its knowledge and experience about rewilding work in The Netherlands and abroad. These include expansion of the Circle of Life initiative to other parts of Europe and inviting local teams from other parts of Europe to visit rewilding area in The Netherlands (floodplain restoration, bison re-introduction, Tauros breeding sites and others), Latvia (restoration of the Dviete valley) or Bulgaria where ARK is active in the New Thracian Gold initiative for sustainable development of the Eastern Rhodopes.
Studies for Rewilding Europe and internships of students are also in the three-year work plan, as is the financial support to the study on the comeback of iconic wildlife species in Europe, to be published in September this year.