Popularity of Rewilding Symposium bodes well for the future

Posted by Daniel Allen on 9/12/2020


The huge interest generated by last week's Rewilding Symposium shows that rewilding is now moving into the mainstream as a conservation approach. As the development of rewilding science continues to enhance real-world impact, the appeal of rewilding's hopeful narrative will continue to increase. 


The online Rewilding Symposium that took place on December 3 generated huge interest.


Moving into the mainstream

The huge interest in last week's day-long Rewilding Symposium, where Ecosulis Nature Recovery Lead Dr. Paul Jepson opened the speaking, demonstrates the rapidly increasing appeal of rewilding. More than 2300 people from across the world registered for the event, with over 1200 people viewing the livestream simultaneously at certain times during the day.


"I think the engagement with this event shows that rewilding has entered the mainstream," says Jepson. "The symposium was a wonderful showcase of the pan-European efforts of scientists and practitioners, who are together generating a coherent, compelling, and rigorous body of theory, evidence and practice to accelerate and upscale ecosystem recovery. As a counterpoint to anxiety over the climate and ecological crisis, the knowledge that the rewilding approach is actively being developed and tested is a source of real inspiration and encouragement."


A hopeful narrative

Positive, pragmatic and progressive, the rewilding narrative contrasts greatly with the doom and gloom stories that characterised the conservation movement of the mid to late twentieth century, which left many people with a sense of helplessness and indifference. As outlined in "Rewilding: The Radical New Science of Ecological Recovery", the book co-authored by Jepson and Ecosulis Managing Director Cain Blythe and and published earlier this year, rewilding is about what can be achieved, rather than what needs to be done.


"It was a real privilege to present my thoughts on the emergence of rewilding as a hopeful and empowering environmental narrative to symposium participants," says Jepson. "My hope is that a younger generation of conservationists will shape this new narrative and connect it to other aspirational narratives that are coming to shape the twenty-first century."



Paul's presentation: "Rewilding: a new narrative in conservation".


Linking science with practice

With the practice of rewilding gaining momentum and starting to deliver real impact across Europe, the science of rewilding is now moving in to a new phase. One of the aims of the Rewilding Symposium symposium was to stimulate development of a rewilding science network that can support and learn from practice. In her opening remarks, symposium chair and co-host Professor Liesbeth Bakker of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology spoke about how rewilding can benefit from the coming together of multiple disciplines. 


"The symposium showed how rewilding is dissolving the boundaries between  natural and social sciences and, importantly, the science practiced in universities and the applied scientific insight generated by rewilders in the field," says Jepson. "This is hugely encouraging."


As rewilding establishes its scientific and policy credentials and the beneficial impact of rewilding initiatives becomes increasingly well known, more and more people from all walks of life will mobilise behind rewilding as a movement for positive change. Through thought leadership and practical rewilding, Ecosulis will continue its work to be at the forefront of such change. 


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