Why scientsts are calling for rewilding to become part of environmental legislation

Rewilding has the potential to help address the current global biodiversity crisis, but its impact will be limited unless agreed definitions can be reached, backed by further scientific research and helped by a policy backdrop that enables greater integration with current environmental legislation.

Rewilding – a philosophy that aims to encourage greater diversity of wildlife through practices including land abandonment and reintroducing native species – has become increasingly fashionable among conservation commentators and policymakers in recent years.

Scientists are now calling for key pieces of legislation concerning biodiversity, land-use, and conservation to be reshaped to make it easier for innovative ideas like rewilding to be included.

However, the extent of global environmental change is now driving some ecosystems beyond their limits, meaning that for these systems restoration is no longer an option.

Rewilding provides a fresh perspective on the way forward for conservation in these situations, with its emphasis on minimal human interventions rather than sustained involvement, and focus on natural processes and functions.

In the face of the current loss of biodiversity, rewilding urgently needs to be added to our arsenal of solutions – but for this to happen, governments around the world need to revise existing legislation to facilitate its inclusion.

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