Rewilding is the process of returning an area to a previous, more natural state; reversing the destruction of the natural world, while restoring complex ecosystems. It is a way to restore parts of our environment and preserve diverse species. It attempts to address and mitigate some of the detrimental effects of mono culture and over development, and emphasises ecological systems and biodiversity. It puts plants and animals in the forefront of any discussion of land use. It is also a huge subject, with many different branches of study, and quite a bit of disagreement within the field.
Why is rewilding good? Because we are losing species of plants and animals at an alarming rate. Once a species is gone, it doesn’t come back. Rewilding emphasises systems, and interdependence of species. It means more variety, and numbers, of plants and animals. We can help ecosystems be more diverse and abundant. Rewilding stresses the need to maintain core areas of natural bio-diverse habitat, and corridors connecting these areas. It is about making ecosystems self-sustaining, abundant, and diverse. We have done so much damage to ecosystems, we need to take an active role in trying to bring some areas back to complex systems. We need to stop separating humans from nature, development from wild.
Rewilding stresses that humans are just one part of an ecosystem. It seeks to look at how diverse animals and plants are interconnected and interdependent. Rewilding principles include ensuring that development allows for corridors connecting large natural areas. If we want wildlife in our developments, we have to provide them a way to get there. It seeks to include many species where previously only one would have been encouraged. A lot of good can come from paying attention to our impact on our surroundings, and inviting diversity. Allowing hedges and trees, rather than stripping land bare, or planting a diversity of native plants, will encourage more diverse plants and animals to come.
Rewilding in a community can be as simple as adding white clover into your lawn, or growing some native flowers for bees. Both let a bit more nature into the area. It means taking a bit more of a hands-off approach to maintaining our land, whether that’s a 40 foot by 40 foot backyard, or 1,000 acres. There’s room for a variety of different plants and animals. Plant a new tree, but make sure it is a native species. Let a part of your lawn go back to being a meadow. This does not mean letting it get overrun by wild parsnip and burdock, but adding wildflowers and native grasses. Add bird houses and bat houses.