The enterprise component of Rewilding Europe is all about the people we are working with to create rewilding enterprises in our rewilding areas. In order for rewilding to succeed, it has to bring benefits for the people who live in those areas. If local people feel the benefits this pleases politicians – and this means a more favourable political climate for rewilding.
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Rewilding Europe Capital was recently launched at the WILD10 congress in Salamanca, Spain, and has completed its first two loans to financially support businesses in Velebit (Croatia) and Portugal.
The period from July to October is a risky one in Western Iberia every year. You cannot imagine how high the temperatures can get and how scarce the rains most often are. This means a great risk of fire. Even if fire is a natural phenomenon here and has always been, the frequency has increased to very high and dangerous levels that are not natural. Not because of the climate, but rather because of humans and their habits.
Rewilding can be the best option for land-use in cases of farmland abandonment in Europe and all over the world when the social structure of farming communities has been eroded and low-intensity farming is no longer socially or economically viable. In some areas maintaining a moderate level of agricultural disturbance can maximize species richness with benefits for biodiversity. But both strategies cannot be successfully implemented without intervention and right management.
For the vision of Europe as a wilder place to succeed, with much more spaces for nature and wildlife, it is crucially important that new generations also get the opportunity to discover, feel and respect nature.
Large-scale land use agreements in Portugal have proved to be very difficult to achieve, as the average size of rural properties is well under two hectares. Often, land is distributed among several owners, making the task of contacting them very difficult and time-consuming. In addition, some studies state that there are two million hectares of land in Portugal where landowners are not identified.
On December 14, the last day of the successful Madrid Wild Wonders exhibition, Spain’s first ever Rewilding seminar was held at the Cañada Real Wildlife Park in El Escorial outside Madrid, under the headline “Making Iberia a Wilder Place”. The theme all through the day was how to turn present problems into opportunities for people and for nature.
We continue to make steady progress as we seek to develop businesses which will support our rewilding objectives. We’re working both to identify and support existing businesses which are relevant to our rewilding areas – and also to design some new businesses where we feel there is an opportunity to create something different and complementary.
A herd of 24 Retuerta horses, coming from the Doñana biological station in southern Spain, were released in the Campanarios de Azaba reserve on July 27. The release was possible thanks to the Rewilding Europe initiative and the collaboration between the Nature and Man Foundation and the Doñana Biological Station.
The Iberian Peninsula is one of the oldest inhabited territories in Europe. In Western Iberia man always lived in and with nature resulting in a spectacular landscape with dehesas, mountain ridges and valleys with steep cliffs. Right now, the situation is changing.