What is rewilding?

An Introduction to Rewilding

Nature is our life support system, it’s the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the energy that sustains us. And it’s in trouble. Wildlife is in dramatic decline. Species extinction and catastrophic climate change threaten all life on Earth. We must take action. 

For thousands of years, humans have changed landscapes and disrupted natural ecosystems. We’ve cleared large swathes of forest for agriculture, removed large carnivores from much of their range and changed the course of rivers. We’re the ultimate ecosystem engineers and the natural world has suffered at our hands. In the face of climate breakdown and global extinctions, it’s now more urgent than ever that we not only protect what we have left but also restore and rewild the ecosystems that we have destroyed.

Nature has the power to heal itself and to heal us, if we let it. That’s what rewilding is all about; restoring ecosystems to the point where nature can take care of itself, and restoring our relationship with the natural world. Reconnecting with what matters.

There are many definitions of rewilding. We believe rewilding is a combined ecological & conservation effort, at any scale, to restore and maintain biodiversity. At its best, it provides a haven for wildlife by allowing natural ecosystems to re-establish and allowing communities to thrive from our wild spaces.

In short, rewilding to us at Wild Staffordshire is hope for landscapes, wildlife and people in the future.

Video produced by Rewilding Britain

Nature Comeback

Unfortunately, intensive land use has negatively impacted our ecosystems causing huge declines in our native species.

Perhaps most notable are birds, which are particularly sensitive to environmental changes and habitat loss. Species such as, yellow hammers, tree sparrows, Dartford warblers, nightjars, skylarks and turtle doves have all seen dramatic declines across Staffordshire.

Unfortunately, declining bird populations often indicate other species are suffering, including plants, insects and mammals.

Some species have even gone extinct in the region completely, including, Red Squirrels, Pine Marten and Lynx. The removal, or extinction, of any species can have a profound and unpredictable ripple effect throughout an ecosystem.

For example, Beavers are known to be an incredibly important species, acting as architects of the landscape. They naturally coppice trees and scrub, creating rich wetlands which in turn harbour all manner of bird and mammal life.

Their loss, not just in Staffordshire but all over the UK, has changed landscapes and dramatically impacted the habitats of numerous other fauna and flora species.

Rewilding works to restore lost species by giving them the right ecosystem to thrive, by population enhancement, and by reintroducing key native species.

Eurasian beaver feeding with twig in water on riverbank
European pine marten, martes martes, standing on a stump in forest in rain
Close up of a squirrel with a bushy tail on a tree at the autumn forest

People & Rewilding

Experiencing the thrill of wild nature reconnects people with our living planet. This improves health and wellbeing and builds a shared sense of humanity and pride, both in the countryside and in cities.

Rewilding is great for communities and local economies. By working towards situations where nature tourism flourishes and local people earn a fair living from nature-based enterprises, revitalising both rural and urban communities.

Rewilding is about reducing human control over the lands ecological build up. It does not mean removing people from the land entirely. 

We are a part of nature, not apart from nature. But over time we’ve been pulling away, taking too much and losing too much. Rewilding is our chance to reconnect. Restore nature and restore ourselves. 

People are the heart and soul of rewilding. Finding our place in nature is key. We need to come together to forge new livelihoods and new opportunities. Ensure that everyone benefits from a richer, greener, cleaner world. Because if nature thrives, we thrive.

Woman watching bird though binocular
Trekking day