Rewilding Europe aims to rewild at least one million hectares of Europe by 2020, consisting of ten areas, each at least 100,000 ha, which together reflect a wide selection of European regions.
Wild horses have been an intricate part of the wildlife of Europe since hundreds of thousands of years. During historical times, wild horses have been described by contemporaries from the ancient period, untill the 19th century AD. Herodotos, the Greek historian of the fifth century BC talks about wild living horses somewhere in present day Belorussia. Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist living in the first century AD, describes that vast herds of wild horses were living north of the Alps.
During December, representatives of the Rewilding Europe enterprise team have visited the Eastern Carpathians, Southern Carpathians and Western Iberia project sites. Enterprise development within Rewilding Europe remains at a very early planning stage, however some clear conservation business development and financing possibilities are emerging.
„Look at how the bark beetle influences the spruce forests – the affected trees appear as small islands in the larger forest landscape”. Tea Silic, biologist at the Northern Velebit National Park, shows us around in the park in preparation for the start-up of one of Rewilding Europe’s field projects.
At the end of May I was on a short break in the Belgian Ardennes – a huge forested area where tourism flourishes but where nature is not in its best condition. And it’s an area that has undergone huge transformations over the last few centuries. The Ardennes were the starting point of the Industrial Revolution on the European mainland. It’s hard to believe nowadays.
From the very fragmented, small-landowner landscape in northeastern Portugal, we suddenly come into a big, already quite raw and wild-looking area: the 600 hectare Faia Brava private nature reserve, in the dramatic Côa valley. This is Portugal’s first private reserve and it is owned by Associaçâo Transumância e Natureza, who is working to rewild it, taking away all extractive use and bringing back lost wildlife, as well as protecting the already existing precious locally breeding wildlife: the Bonelli’s eagle, the golden eagle, griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, eagle owl etc. And taking care of the cultural heritage sites in the reserve as well.
From the wide and relatively intact Dehesa forests of the Salamanca district in Castilla y León. After five minutes in the Campanarios de Azába nature reserve, we understand that we must be in the right place with the impressive sight of more than 100 large raptors slowly taking to their wings in the air thermals of the morning sun over the holm and cork oaks of the reserve.