There’s little argument that we’re at a tipping point when it comes to the balance of human impact and nature, with a biodiversity crisis on most continents.
Robust eco-systems which are vital for regulating the levels of CO2 in our atmosphere as well as the levels of our sea, have been crippled and undermined by human impact, plastic innovation and rising greenhouse gas emissions due to our inreasingly industrial world.
Fighting back, and helping to restore nature’s systems is something most people can help with in one way or another.
Rewilding ranges from planting trees (or donating to those that do this) to turning a monocrop grass lawn for a vibrant veggie plot.
What is rewilding?
Rewilding is an act of conservation, aiming to restore and protect the natural world; this is done by restoring ecosystems to the point where nature can take care of itself.
Unlike normal acts of conservation, instead of focusing on a single species, rewilding encompasses the entire ecosystem ensuring biodiverse spaces for both animal and plant life.
Rewilding can be thought of as a large-scale restoration, creating a greater opportunity for diversity and stability.
Rewilding Britain states that there are five principles of rewilding:
- Support people and nature together
- Let nature lead – free movement of rivers, natural grazing etc
- Create resilient local economies
- Work on the appropriate scale
- Secure benefits for a long-term future
Some examples of rewilding could be reintroducing missing species that are crucial to native ecosystems like beavers, or reducing high populations of grazing animals to help plants grow and improve soil health, as well as planting more trees, which is what many people often think of, when thinking about rewilding.
More than half the UK’s species are in decline with 15% threatened with extinction
Rewilding the oceans is equally as important as the lands, especially as the UK’s surrounding water, for example, can hold roughly 50 million tonnes more carbon than the current standing forests.
Yet an estimated 7% of seagrass habitat is being lost worldwide each year.
- Destructive starfish and explosive fishing: The everyday people restoring reefs, one coral at a time
Quick links to pebble’s best rewilding books
Why is rewilding important?
Some of the main reasons why rewilding is important are:
- It can reverse climate change by drawing carbon from the atmosphere – both via land and sea.
- Rewilding helps wildlife adapt to climate change
- It reverses biodiversity loss by restoring ecosystems and reintroducing species (reintroducing species can even help with carbon storage
- It can help local communities prosper
- It improves our overall health and wellbeing though healthier soils, air, food and even flood defences
Want to learn more?
Check out our easy to understand explainer: What Is Soil Health? Why We Shouldn’t Treat It Like Dirt
12% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions could be captured by restoring 30% of native, natural landscapes
Across oceans, skies and land, rewilding helps nature restore itself to make up for some of the damage humans have done over the last few centuries.
The rewilding books in pebble’s favourite books list details the importance and the positive impact that this form of conservation has on the planet – and on us.
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The Best Books to Learn About Rewilding
1. Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm by Isabella Tree
One of the most famous books about rewilding is Isabella Tree’s Wilding speaks of her own rewilding project in West Sussex, where she and her husband used their 3,500 acre to create new habitats for wildlife at the now-famous Knepp estate.
Part memoir and account of British countryside ecology, Tree captivates the reader in a challenging story of turning degraded agricultural land into an ecosystem heaving with life.
2. Wild Souls: Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-Human World by Emma Marris
In Wild Souls, Emma Marris weighs up the debates around wild animals and habitats and the role of human intervention.
She tells amazing stories from around the world of scientists and animals alike.
3. Abundance: Nature In Recovery by Karen Lloyd
Karen Lloyd’s collection of literary essays in Abundance explore both abundance and loss in the natural world.
Focusing on restoration, renewal and rewilding, Lloyd reveals how those working in conservation are attempting to prevent biodiversity loss.
4. Rewilding – The Illustrated Edition: The Radical New Science of Ecological Recovery by Cain Blythe and Paul Jepson
Practising ecologists Cain Blythe and Paul Jepson’s Rewilding prose sits alongside beautiful illustrations makes for an exceptional read.
This engaging and motivational book speaks of nature conservation in the 21st century and its radical turn – rewilding.
This offers a great starting point for learning about the history of rewilding, with respect to both scientific and practical issues.
5. Rewild Your Garden: Create a Haven for Birds, Bees and Butterflies by Frances Tophill
Sunday Times’s Gardening Book of the Year 2020, horticulturist Frances Tophill’s Rewild Your Garden is the perfect book for any gardener wanting to diversify their garden.
Both practical and beautifully illustrated, this handbook guides the reader through planning and maintaining a garden that will attract pollinators, birds and other garden heroes.
6. Feral: Rewilding the Land, Sea and Human Life by George Monbiot
Making use of scientific discoveries, George Monbiot explores a new and positive environmentalism in Feral.
It sheds light on how damaged ecosystems can be restored, from land to the sea, and how rewilding can enrich our lives.
Divulging in tales of wild places, wildlife and wild people, Monbiot speaks of Britain and Europe and the people restoring lost forests and missing species.
7. Bringing Back the Beaver: The Story of One Man’s Quest to Rewild Britain’s Waterways by Derek Gow
Farmer-turned-ecologist Derek Gow speaks of his firsthand account of rewilding the British landscape in Bringing Back the Beaver.
He shares the story of his subversive act of re-establishing beavers in British waterways across England and Scotland, after they had been hunted to extinction in the 16th century.
8. Planting for Wildlife: A Grower’s Guide to Rewilding Your Garden by Jane Moore
Jane Moore proves that making a haven for wildlife does not demand acres of land in Planting for Wildlife.
By planting right, gardens can host a variety of creatures.
Moore speaks of organic gardening, guides the reader on how to make a pond and other ideas for a more holistic approach to gardening.
9. Restoring the Wild: Sixty Years of Rewilding Our Skies, Woods and Waterways by Roy Dennis
Roy Dennis played an instrumental role in returning the Osprey, red kite and golden eagle to the British Isles – but his plans don’t stop there.
In Restoring the Wild, he speaks of British reintroductions and the incredibly difficult processes, but also the immense gain for expanding our ecosystems and bringing them back to balance.
10. Poetry Rebellion: Poems And Prose To Rewild The Spirit by Paul Evans
This poetry and prose collection is like no other, spanning across 4,000 years of human history.
Paul Evans collated Poetry Rebellion to allow the reader to find solace from environmental grief.
11. Rewilding the Sea: How to Save Our Oceans by Charles Clover
Expected June 2022, Charles Clover argues the importance of saving our oceans through rewilding in Rewilding the Sea.
A follow up to his The End of the Line: How Overfishing is Changing the World, Clover determines that individuals are showing that the crisis in our oceans can be reversed, and how rewilding our oceans benefits both land, sea and people.
12. Islands of Abandonment: Nature Rebounding in the Post-Human Landscape by Cal Flyn
Cal Flyn encourages the reader to marvel at nature’s resilience in Islands of Abandonment.
Whether it be where humans no longer live by choice or not, Flyn explores locations where nature has reclaimed land from Chernobyl to Detroit.
There are some fascinating conversations on large-scale reforestation, urban decline, and war-torn landscapes as new habitats for wildlife.
Flyn stresses that this does not mean that humans can do ill to the planet without repercussions – we still have a responsibility, but we also have hope.
Read more. Do more…
Love rewilding? Don’t miss some of pebble’s other inspiring content in our Sea Change series, all about Feeding Ourselves.
- Learn more from our explainer What is Permaculture?
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