Rewilding offers solutions to our current climate and nature emergencies. Today 15 leading European rewilding organisations are calling for a wilder Europe and the inclusion of rewilding in the European Green Deal and EU Biodiversity Strategy post-2020.
A call to collaborate
As part of a collaboration between 15 leading European rewilding organisations, Ecosulis has today co-released a "Call to Action for a Wilder Europe". Recognising the significant potential of rewilding to rebuild natural abundance, sequester carbon, reduce the risk of flooding and wildfires and contribute to social and economic wellbeing, the document calls for a wide range of actors to collaborate in working towards a wilder Europe. This includes everyone from citizens and entrepreneurs to financiers and land managers.
Together with other co-signatories, Ecosulis invites all organisations, rewilding initiatives, action groups, NGOs, scientific institutions and companies to endorse the call to action and share it with others by using the image below along with the hashtag #CallForAWilderEurope and a link to the "Call to Action for a Wilder Europe" page.
"Today we have a historic opportunity to rebuild ecosystems in ways that will enrich the lives of every European," says Ecosulis Nature Recovery Lead Dr. Paul Jepson, who played an instrumental role in drawing up the call to action at a gathering of rewilding experts in Spain in early November. "With this document we are reaching out to people from all walks of life and asking them to help co-design a vision for a wilder Europe."
Seizing the moment
The release of the call to action is particularly timely. Yesterday the incoming commissioner for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, presented a draft of the new environmental EU law in Brussels. At Ecosulis we believe the final version of the deal should contain far more ambitious ecological recovery and climate change targets, and that it should embrace and support rewilding as an innovative conservation approach that is already delivering impressive results across Europe.
"In addition to enhancing biodiversity, restoring wild nature can protect us from flooding and coastal erosion, stabilise crops, minimise wildfire risk, secure drinking water supplies, ensure human health and wellbeing and drive economic growth," says Ecosulis Managing Director Cain Blythe.
"The restoration of ecosystems such as wood-pasture mosaics and the reconnection of river channels with their washlands are some of the most cost-effective ways of addressing climate change and creating new natural assets that benefit people and wildlife," he continues. "EU policy must recognise this and provide a far more supportive environment for practical rewilding."
Central to the call to action is a set of European rewilding principles (viewable on the call to action page) that were also drawn up at the November gathering in Spain. The aim of both documents is to increase the scale, momentum and unity of practical and grounded rewilding in Europe.
The establishment of rewilding principles will help to define what is different and special about rewilding, providing coherence, inspiration and transparency, and position rewilding in relation to other conservation approaches.
"These principles will not only create a framework of goals, approaches and obligations, but allow flexibility in the implementation of practical rewilding measures," says Dr. Paul Jepson.
Nature-based solutions are now receiving increasing attention in political and policy discourse, with 2020-2030 declared the UN Decade on Ecological Restoration.
"This creates an opportunity and imperative to contribute rewilding principles that can translate aspirational words into practical action," adds Jepson.
Want to know more?
The following organisations have endorsed the "Call to Action for a Wilder Europe" on its release:
ARK Nature, the Netherlands
Biotope Fund for Nature, France
Natural Forest Academy, Germany
Rewilding Apennines, Italy
Rewilding Britain, UK
Rewilding Oder Delta, Germany & Poland
Rewilding Rhodopes, Bulgaria
SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, UK
WILD Foundation, US