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Re-wilding is the progressive conservation approaches that aim at letting nature to take care of itself and enabling the natural processes to shape the sea and land, restore degraded landscapes and repair damaged ecosystems. More diverse habitats can be created by wildlife’s natural rhythms through re-wilding. Nature has its own ways and knows the best ways to ensure survival and self-governance. Nature can be given a helping hand by ensuring the right conditions for example by removing dams and dykes to free up rivers and bringing an end to active management of wildlife populations, reintroduction of species that have become extinct and by allowing natural forests to regenerate. After taking these steps, it is relevant to set back and let nature manage itself.Bringing back wildlife is a great strategy. There has been a strong decline of the European wildlife species that stay extinct even in their wildest areas. Extinctions has met some of these species yet they have a critical importance of the ecological role. Re-wilding plays a significant role in restoring the species guilds by giving them space to develop through enhancing population and reintroduction of native species. This paper assesses the concept of rewilding, history of rewilding, rewilding projects and the importance of rewilding.
The Concept of Rewilding
The term was coined by Dave Foreman who was a conservationist and activist who thought that nature was supposed to be a priority in the activities of human beings. Foreman participated in founding Rewilding institute. The term came to public in 1990 which later received refinement from other scholars and conservationists. There was introduction of the core concepts that introduced cores, corridors and carnivores in further developments in 1999. More definitions of rewilding have been offered by other scholars citing that it is the cumulative topos of diversity, movement and chaos in association with the characteristic social-environmental relationships.
According to the conservationists, ensuring the wellbeing of the natural species is important in maintaining of coexistence. Having a healthy nature ensures that we are healthier too. Humans rely on the natural world for water, air, and food. There has been a growing realization that it is important to connect with the wild nature as it betters the way we feel and maintains the wellbeing of our mental and physical state. Re-wilding concerns with the reconnection of the modern society – both in the urban and rural – with wilder nature. People are invited to experience and live in the new re-wildedlandscapes.Rewilding has no defined endpoint. Wilder nature can be brought about by the aims to support nature-driven processes. Rewilding concerns the steps that aim at improving the level of wildness where all steps that move the scale are seen as progress. It can be beneficial to wildlife and people if they were they were to create and protect areas that can promote rewilding.
History of Rewilding
Rewilding was a concept developed to with an aim of preserving functional ecosystems while reducing the lose of biodiversity. Rewilding also aimed at taking research on the biogeography concepts in islands and the ecological roles of larger carnivores. The study of the compositions of the biogeography was influenced by the theory of Island biogeography that was developed by Edward Wilson and Robert MacArthur in 1967 (Fraer, 2010). The theory established the importance considerations of the size and isolation of the areas of wildlife conservation while stating that these protected areas still existed under the vulnerability of the risks of extinction if isolated and minimalized. The theory intensified the conversations and discussions on the approaches of conservation which resulted in to the birth of the rewilding concepts.
There have been major rewilding projects have taken place in various parts of the world at grassroots level and through international conservation organization. These organizations have incorporated rewilding concepts into their projects to restore and protect large-scale core wilderness areas such as carnivores, apex predators and keystone species. The initiated projects include the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation initiatives and the European Green Belt and the Peace Parks Foundation (Jorgensen, 2014). The list of conservations projects that include the rewilding concepts goes on and on in all continents around the globe. In Australia, the Rewilding Australia organization was formed with the intention of restoring various marsupials and other Australian animals most of which have been extirpated from the mainland.
Europe has been a lead in projects to ensure rewilding in their natural reserves. The Dutch government started introduction of proxy species in the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve in the 1980s with an aim to recreate grassland ecology (Navarro & Pereira, 2012). Even though the concept of rewilding had not been created, the projects and the goals that were carried out in the country’s initiatives depicted the concepts of rewilding. Nevertheless, the reserve does not establish megafauna of coexistence as it lacks predators such as bears, wolves, lynx, wisent and boars which makes it controversial. Europe established the Rewilding Europe initiative in 2011 aiming at rewilding more than one million hectares of land in different areas around the continent by 2020 – most of which were abandoned farmlands (Monbiot, 2013). The projects carried out in the present day are mainly focused on the species that have not gone extinct in the continent such as the Iberian lynx, Eurasian lynx, wolf, European jackal, Brown bear, chamois, Spanish ibex, European bison, red deer, griffon vulture, cinereous vulture, Egyptian vulture, Great white pelican and horned viper. The Rewilding Europe has strongly involved the Tauros Programme since 2012 in search for recreation of the phenotypes of the aurochs which are the ancestors of the domestic cattle.
European bisons have been released from North Spain since 2010 by unrelated initiatives in thevillages of San Cebrian de Muda in Palencia. The species had been recorded to have gone extinct in spain since the middle ages yet they were inhabited in a natural area ofthe Quaternary Park (Hintz & Woods, 2012). More European bisons were released into the wild in 2013 in Germany in an area that had experienced over 300 years of absence of the animals.
A Brazilian ecologist, Mauro Galetti, proposed the Pleistocene rewilding in 2004. He suggested the need to reintroduce elephants and other proxies of the megafauna that had gone into extinction in circuses and zoos on private lands in Brazil.Paul Martin proposed the restoration of the ecological balance in North America with animals that had similar ecological roles like those that had gone into extinction such as the mammoths sabre-toothed cats with African elephants and other animals (Donlan, CJ et al 2006). This led to the establishment of a reserve in Brazilian Cerado for conservation of Elephants.
Importance of Rewilding
The concept of rewilding offers numerous benefits on the sustainability of the ecosystem. Every part of the ecosystem plays a significant role in the maintenance of balance in the ecosystem hence the ecosystem. It is notable that some of the natural catastrophes that are experienced in the current world could be related with the problems that are brought by the extinction of some species.
Rewilding shows the potential to fight the climate change that has been observed in the 21st century. Global warming and the rise of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is getting catastrophic. It has been recorded the world emission of CO2 stands at 33 billion tons annually. Forests play an important control of atmospheric CO2 as they play as natural carbon sinks which reduce the gas immensely (Moorhouse&Sandom, 2015). Every tree planted in the rewilding project takes care of approximately 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide annually equating to a ton of the gas over 40 years.
Rewilding ensures the wellbeing of the ecosystem with a greater benefit to human lives. Experiencing an enhanced and enchantment of the wilderness reconnects humans with the mother earth and improves the sense and a shared sense of humanity. Scholars have recorded that spending the more time in the forest improves the one’s psychological and physical wellbeing (Lorimer, J and Driessen, 2013). Cultures of some nationalities such as japan have shown the importance of forest through practices such as forest bathing that were used to improve health through lowering blood pressure, heart rate, stress hormones and depression. Hence, rewilding of the natural forests can have a significant solution to multiple health problems by providing natural solutions.
Rewilding can also cause natural prevention of disasters. Natural ecosystems prevent natural disasters such as soil erosions, flooding and offer natural breaks against forest fires. The tree canopy of the forests slows the rate at which rain water gets to the floor of the forest while the tree roots provide a drainage functionality by sucking up the water an drawing it deep into the soil. This reduces the amount of water that runs over the land into the streams and rivers-. hence reducing the risk of flooding. Trees offer breaking objects in the way of running water hence reducing its speed and inducing deposition of its load which is often soil. Slow moving water lacks the energy to scoop the soil off the ground; hence preventing the soil erosion.
Rewilding also inspires generations to love nature. The trends in the young generation depict little attraction or concern to nature. However, this could be attributed tofewer opportunities they have had to interact with the loving benefits of nature. Rewilding would allow young people to enjoy the gifts of nature including better air, scenery and a grossly improved environment. This would increase their love for nature and will to conserve it.
Rewilding is a concept developed to initiate interventions of supporting nature to reintroduce its lost properties the let it exists independently. The concept was developed after an increased growth of extinction of the components of the megafauna which left dents that were attributed to the likely problems faced today. Some rewilding projects have worked in various parts of the world. Rewilding comes along with a trail of benefits including improved health and prevention of natural calamities.