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Scaling up rewilding

Inspiring the scaling up and replication of the rewilding approach across Europe.

Diego López/Wild Wonders of Europe

Scaling up rewilding

Inspiring the scaling up and replication of the rewilding approach across Europe.

The amplification approach

Magnus Lundgren / Rewilding Europe

Inspiring others

At Rewilding Europe we would like to see rewilding process taking place on an increasing scale across Europe. As we move forward with our own initiatives to make Europe a wilder place, successfully encouraging others to adopt the rewilding approach will continue to be important. Communications and marketing, developing networks, policy work with partners and scientific work have a key role to play in this amplification process. To this end, we have developed and regularly employ a number of tools and activities.

Sharing lessons and experiences on rewilding as a conservation approach, inspiring and encouraging other field-based initiatives to adopt our methodologies, is mainly achieved through the European Rewilding Network.

Staffan Widstrand / Rewilding Europe

Developing partnerships

Partnerships are essential in the scaling up of our work and to the ultimate success of Rewilding Europe. We invest time and effort to develop effective partnerships with a variety of entities at global, international, national and local level. These help to build momentum and take the rewilding process forwards.

As the academic world is increasingly interested in rewilding, we are building relationships with multiple scientific institutions across Europe. Together with scientists from a range of institutions, we are working to publish and promote academic rewilding related articles in respected, peer-reviewed journals and magazines.

Rewilding is also emerging and developing in other parts of the world. We increasingly connect with our peers across the globe.Among others, this has resulted in a ‘Global Charter for Rewilding the Earth

European Rewilding Network:
increasingly connected

Established in 2013, the European Rewilding Network (ERN) is a tool of Rewilding Europe to bring together Europe’s action-focused and field-based rewilding initiatives. For a variety of reasons, many of these initiatives can benefit from being linked with each other and being part of such a wider network across Europe.

The aim of the European Rewilding Network is to support the mainstreaming of rewilding as a conservation approach in Europe and to raise the profile of European rewilding initiatives and their work across the continent.

Through this network, Rewilding Europe facilitates these initiatives to connect and enhance our collective capacity by providing a platform for the exchange of ideas, learning and have constructive dialogue on practical rewilding. The aim is to increase the visibility of each of the individual members and the adoption of joint rewilding principles and practices.

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Mutually beneficial partnerships

At a central level we currently have 30 strategic partnerships, divided into five categories: initiating partners (4), financial partners (6), rewilding partners (9), business partners (6) and communication partners (5). Our most recent new partnerships with various organisations and institutions include the European Investment Bank, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, the German Institute for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Rewilding Britain, the Zoological Society of London, Wageningen University and The Nature Conservancy.

In each of our rewilding areas, we have dedicated local partners. We have also helped to establish seven new legal rewilding-related entities: Rewilding Apennines (2014), Rewilding Velebit (2014), Rewilding Rhodopes (2014) and Rewilding Lapland (2015), Rewilding Ukraine (2016), Rewilding Danube Delta (2017), Rewilding Oder Delta and Rewilding Portugal (2019). The only exception is the Southern Carpathians, where we work with WWF Romania as our dedicated partner. With each of them, we signed five-year agreements based on long-term rewilding visions and strategic plans for each rewilding area.

Greater scientific focus

For several years we have been working with scientists from across Europe. The interest of the scientific sector in rewilding is increasing rapidly, with a burgeoning number of articles, scientific conferences, seminars and meetings published and held on the subject. We strongly support this development and are committed to working with partners to conducting applied science work across our rewilding areas, and on general themes and subjects.

Since we began operating in 2012, we have collaborated loosely with 16 different European scientific institutions and scientists. We would like to see more coordination and coherence in the research agenda for rewilding in Europe, and intensified cooperation between these institutions and scientists on research topics. To promote this, we have partnered with Wageningen University and the Netherlands Institute for Ecology (NIOO) in the establishment of a special professorship on rewilding. This will provide the ideal opportunity to address key practical, scientific and policy issues, and involve students from across Europe.

Rewilding Europe has presented its work at a range of scientific events over the past few years. With limited capacity, we carefully screen invitations to speak on the basis of profile raising and reaching out to new and established partners.

Running from 25 to 27 September 2017, a workshop at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in the German city of Leipzig saw more than 25 experts come together to discuss various aspects of promoting and strengthening the European Union’s (EU) ecological restoration agenda.
Running from 25 to 27 September 2017, a workshop at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in the German city of Leipzig saw more than 25 experts come together to discuss various aspects of promoting and strengthening the European Union’s (EU) ecological restoration agenda.

Creating a policy space for rewilding at European level

Rewilding Europe works with a range of partners at a European level to influence policy. Over the last few years, and with funding from WWF-Netherlands, Rewilding Europe has worked in a coalition with WWF-European Policy Office, Birdlife Europe and Central Asia, the European Environmental Bureau, the Institute for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) at the University of Leipzig to strengthen the EU restoration agenda through the promotion of rewilding principles to create a coherent Ecological Network in Europe. This project operates at a critical juncture for Europe as a new European Commission took office in late 2019 promising a European Green Deal. As part of the Green Deal, the Commission is committed to producing a new EU Biodiversity Strategy that commits Europe to ambitious ecological restoration targets.

In this project, the coalition partners completed work on producing a green ecological infrastructure map for Europe based on Europe’s rewilding potential and designed to link the existing Natura 2000 sites into a more coherent ecological network. Linked to this work, the coalition has produced policy papers calling on the commission to link ecological restoration to rewilding. The papers show the link between rewilding and nature-based solutions to resolving the twin and intertwined crises of biodiversity and climate change.

Rewilding Europe continues to focus its advocacy efforts through the European Habitats Forum to influence European Union policy. More specifically Rewilding Europe worked alongside leading rewilding practitioners from across Europe, culminating in a workshop in Cuenca, Spain, to produce a set of rewilding principles which have been widely adopted across the European nature conservation sector. These principles have been taken up by the World Wilderness Congress to develop the Global Charter to Rewild the Earth published in March 2020.


Boosting Ecological Restoration for a Wilder Europe

Our main achievements

European Rewilding Network (ERN) has become a functioning rewilding community

From its foundation in 2013, Rewilding Europe’s Network has grown into an incredibly diverse collection of projects and initiatives, each focusing on one or more aspects of European rewilding. The overall concept is to enhance the rewilding impact of each member by facilitating the exchange of knowledge and expertise. With the ERN now entering its eighth year, the focus of the network is shifting away from growth, with far more emphasis on providing support for practical, result-oriented rewilding.  

We have started influencing EU policy on the CBD restoration target

To influence the European Union (EU) conservation policy towards rewilding, we have become a member of the European Habitat Forum and IUCN. In 2017 we formed a coalition with policy and scientific partners to promote and influence the EU restoration agenda towards the new EU Biodiverslity Strategy 2030. This resulted in a number of academic papers, policy briefs and a map of a green infrastructure of Europe that were all presented in 2020.

A wide array of European partnerships

At a central level we currently have over 30 strategic partnerships, divided into five categories: initiating partners, financial partners, rewilding partners, business partners and communication partners. Our most recent new partnerships with various organisations and institutions include the European Investment Bank, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, the German Institute for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Rewilding Britain, the Zoological Society of London, Wageningen University and The Nature Conservancy.

Local rewilding initiatives taking leadership and ownership

Across our rewilding areas we have a diverse range of local partners. These include existing NGOs, such as Associação Transumância e Natureza (in Western Iberia), WWF Romania (in the Southern Carpathians and Danube Delta), and different German and Polish partners (in the Oder Delta). We have also helped to establish 7 new legal rewilding-related entities: Rewilding Apennines (2014), Rewilding Velebit (2014), Rewilding Rhodopes (2014) and Rewilding Lapland, now called Rewilding Sweden (2015), Rewilding Ukraine (2016), Rewilding Danube Delta (2017) and Rewilding Portugal (2019). All these organisations are formal local partners with whom we have established long-term working relationships.

Call to Action for a Wilder Europe and Global Charter for Rewilding the Earth

In November 2019, we published a ‘Call to Action for a Wilder Europe’, together with 18 initial partners and which has now been endorsed by 39 European organisations. The Call aims to drive forward and scale-up practical rewilding across Europe.

In March 2020, a similar initiative was taken up by the WILD Foundation, inspired by the European Call to Action, to develop and present a ‘Global Charter for Rewilding the Earth’. This has now been signed by over 96 organisation from across the world.

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