Nature-based economies

There are economic opportunities in rewilding.
The increasing global popularity of nature-based tourism demonstrates this potential.
Helping nature heal can lead to prosperous local economies.

Vlad Braga

Nature-based economies

There are economic opportunities in rewilding.
The increasing global popularity of nature-based tourism demonstrates this potential.
Helping nature heal can lead to prosperous local economies.

A business case for the wild

Bruno D'Amicis / Rewilding Europe

The missing link

At Rewilding Europe we want to show that rewilding can generate new business opportunities, jobs and income. By building this ‘business case for the wild’, we can provide new opportunities for rural economies – which are now often associated with economic stagnation or decline, rural depopulation and land abandonment.

The restoration of ecosystems can become fertile ground for the development of new nature based economies in rural areas, providing new livelihoods for local communities.

Since 2013, Rewilding Europe has been working with enterprises to support the integration of rewilding objectives into their business plans and we continue to seek new enterprises to collaborate with.

Staffan Widstrand / Rewilding Europe

What is a rewilding enterprise?

A rewilding enterprise generates direct or indirect finance, incentives or engagement for rewilding, and has a positive impact on wilder nature or wildlife comeback. And of course, all based on a viable business that operates in an environmentally and socially sustainable way.

Rewilding entrepreneurship is still in its early stages in Europe. Providing guidance and technical support to such new enterprises is as vital to the sustainability of these businesses as financial support.

Currently, many businesses – even if they are completely dependent on the natural environment – exploit the environment in an unsustainable way. European subsidies are seldom enough on their own, to support rewilding enterprises. At Rewilding Europe we believe it’s time for a change! 

Our dedicated team

Rewilding Europe was one of the original European conservation organisations to recognise the potential of the enterprise component to the pursuit of securing more space for nature. Rewilding Europe’s team ‘Nature for People’ brings together people with significant international experience in business, finance and rewilding, and who are dedicated to supporting businesses and communities that have the potential to revitalise rural economies, with the wider goal of engendering a pan-European rewilding enterprise movement.

Rewilding Europe also aims to enable landscape-scale nature recovery across Europe by demonstrating that rewilding initiatives can generate new and significant value for landowners and managers, investors, a wider network of stakeholders, and society at large.

“In Europe conservation and entrepreneurship often appear to inhabit mutually exclusive worlds.
Rewilding can bring these worlds together.”

Johannes Schreuder - Head of Nature for People

Johannes Schreuder
Head of Nature for People

What we are doing

Technical support

We provide technical support to existing and potential businesses, e.g. development or revision of business plans and training.

Financial support

We provide financial support through Rewilding Europe Capital (REC), our enterprise loan facility.

Promotional support

We help to promote these businesses through sales and marketing.


Introducing Rewilding Europe Capital

Juan Carlos Múñoz / Rewilding Europe

Investment in rewilding

Rewilding Europe Capital (REC) is Europe’s first rewilding enterprise funding facility that provides financial loans to businesses that catalyse, support and achieve positive environmental and socio-economic outcomes that support rewilding. It was set up by Rewilding Europe in 2013, in cooperation with Conservation Capital.

We are exploring new partnerships with financial institutions and private investors to grow and develop REC as a key tool to achieve our mission. We believe that REC has the potential to foster, leverage and direct investment in a way that is beneficial to European nature.

Magnus Lundgren / Wild Wonders of Europe

A range of sectors

Rewilding Europe Capital continues to explore further opportunities to scale up rewilding enterprise across Europe, attracting new investors and exploring new market sectors to work with.

In doing this, we focus on creating greater awareness of the need for rewilding in a range of market sectors, including, but not limited to forest management, nature and wildlife tourism, wetland restoration and water management, biodiversity and CO2 offsetting, land estates and wildlife breeding and management.

Would you like to explore if a loan through Rewilding Europe Capital would be useful for you? Our enterprise team can give you personal advice on the opportunities for working with Rewilding Europe.

Learn more

Wildlife has value

Andoni Canela

Nature tourism is booming

Restoring nature, bringing back wildlife and rewilding can bring economic benefits right across Europe. Nature has the power to generate income. Nature tourism around the world is booming. And at a time when biodiversity is in decline, wildlife watching is on the up.

The biggest opportunities lie with the species that have big teeth, horns and antlers, the hooked beaks and sharp claws. These are the features that really excite and inspire. People want to see birds and animals up close.

Staffan Widstrand / Wild Wonders of Europe

Attractive species on offer

Europe has a wide range of attractive species on offer for wildlife watching and photography. Seeing animals at close range in Europe means using hides. The number of professionally designed wildlife hides is growing rapidly, and booking wildlife watching and photography tours is possible in more and more countries.

Some outfitters have completely specialised on this and have dozens of hides on offer, such as in the Finnish Kuhmo forest region, Hungarian Hortobagy, Romanian Danube Delta and Spanish dehesa. Dozens of mammal and bird species can be seen or photographed at close range, ranging from large carnivores such as bears, wolves and wolverines, to iconic birds like vultures, eagles, owls, bee-eaters and black grouse.

Staffan Widstrand / Rewilding Europe

A wilder future

With a sharp growth in the nature photography market that is happening now, this is an increasingly rewarding business that is now taking off in Europe. From other continents in the world we know wildlife watching and related tourism can ultimately become a major factor in the economy of regions, and even countries. In Europe the first examples of this are now emerging, but still in early stages.

The problem in Europe has been a lack of wildlife to watch. In many areas, hunting pressure has made the animals that do exist extremely shy. But as wildlife returns, the doors are slowly opening to a new world of tourism-related opportunities. A wilder future is not only healthier and wiser, but potentially wealthier too.

Staffan Widstrand / Rewilding Europe

Transformational potential

People that come for wildlife watching and photography, are mostly not day visitors. They stay for extended period of time, also outside the main tourism seasons. This means that apart from booking hides, they also use accommodation, local transport and facilities, meaning a real value added to the local economy, due to multiplier effects. The transformational potential of wildlife for the local economy can thus be substantial if developed wisely.

Our main achievements

Rewilding Europe Capital

Since 2013, through Rewilding Europe Capital a total of 24 enterprises have now received financial support, with disbursed loans totalling over 2.3 million euros in six countries.  These enterprises range from wildlife viewing hides in Italy, Croatia and Portugal, wildlife breeding centres in the Netherlands to sustainable hunting ventures in Croatia, peat restoration and the rewilding of forests in Finland.

Enterprise support

Rewilding Europe has provided technical support to 152 enterprises, mostly in the rewilding landscapes where we work. Out of these, 60 enterprises received specific training, while 2received a loan through Rewilding Europe Capital. The number of employees created through these enterprises is 47 people. 

A best practice manual

To outline the benefits of wildlife watching hides, and to provide guidance for businesses and initiatives that want to develop and operate them, Rewilding Europe has developed a Code of Conduct for the development and operations of wildlife hides. This comprehensive manual is intended to complement a well-illustrated practical guide to wildlife watching hides, published by Rewilding Europe in 2014, which provides a range of information on types of hide and their planning and construction.

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