Scotland has become one of the most ecologically depleted nations on Earth. It wasn’t so long ago that vibrant, wild forest stretched its fingers across much of the Scottish Highlands. Beavers and cranes found sanctuary in extensive wetlands; salmon and trout filled Scotland's rivers and lynx, wolf and wild boar stalked woodland glades. Today, all of our large carnivores have gone; most of our large herbivores have gone and across huge areas of Scotland, a bare degraded landscape persists that supports very little life – wild life or human life.
Scotland has become an ecological shadow of its former self but it doesn’t have to be this way. A bold vision for Scotland’s future is slowly evolving; a vision that looks forward not back; a vision that would see native woodland regenerating at a landscape scale; a vision where damaged peatlands are restored, and rivers lined by alder and willow run freely; a vision that would see a wilder, revitalised landscape driven by natural processes, supporting a much broader range of wildlife than exists today. This is the vision of a wilder Scotland, one that benefits all life, including human life.
Some people call this vision “rewilding” but we just call it good sense. Right now, across the globe, Nature is losing a war in which short-term economics trumps everything. Our climate is changing, species are being lost, habitats are being fragmented and basic natural resources such as clean air and water are under threat. Scotland has the opportunity to buck that trend and become a world leader in ecosystem repair and restoration. If not, what’s the alternative? More “dewilding”? More species lost? More dismantling of the natural systems that keep us alive? An acceleration in climate change? More rural depopulation through lack of economic opportunity?
A wilder Scotland makes good sense.