When I first heard the word ‘re-wilding’ a few years ago, I was a little sceptical. Without knowing much about it, I kind of had it pegged at the more romantic end of environmentalism – re-introducing species or trying to return landscapes to an arbitrary historical state. The more I’ve read about how ecosystems function since, the more worth I see in the idea.
While researching the decline of shark numbers, for example, I began to understand the role of key species at the top of the food chain. The loss of one species can have knock-on effects in often highly unpredicable areas. Likewise, returning a species that has been lost can have multiple benefits, in a similarly non-linear fashion.
Somewhere on the long list of books I intend to read at some point is George Monbiot’s Feral, which is all about rewilding. Until I get round to it, here’s Monbiot’s recent TED talk on the subject.