THE BIG PICTURE
In order to meet the growing challenges of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss, we need to see The Big Picture. Rewilding reaches beyond simply protecting species or habitats within nature reserves or protected areas and instead, seeks to transform Scotland’s land and seas so that they work for nature, climate and people.
What is rewilding?
For us, rewilding is an evolving process of nature recovery that leads to restored ecosystem health, function and completeness.
Our view of rewilding is built around these principles:
- Providing the space and conditions to re-establish dynamic natural processes, so that they shape and govern Scotland’s land and seas.
- Recognising the critical role of all species – including missing native species – in sustaining functioning food webs and other ecological interactions.
- Nurturing nature recovery at different scales and accepting that approaches to rewilding can look and feel quite different and still offer valuable benefits.
- Improving connectivity across fragmented habitats to give species more freedom to roam, supporting biodiversity recovery and climate resilience.
- Helping communities to prosper in a diverse, nature-based economy that works in tandem with ecological recovery.
The Big Picture for nature
It wasn’t so long ago that wild forests, free-flowing rivers and rich wetlands stretched across much of Scotland supporting an intricate web of life. But today, despite the majestic vistas, our land is emptier, poorer; our wildlife diminished.
We have to recognise what we have lost, but more importantly, imagine what could return. Nature is not just a collection of species, it’s a complex set of processes and interactions that keep ecosystems functioning – predation, scavenging, birth, death, decay and regeneration.
Rewilding works to revitalise these dynamic natural processes, driving the recovery of Scotland’s nature.
The Big Picture for climate
Science tells us that the next 10 years will be critical in addressing climate breakdown. Within this frighteningly narrow window, a huge shift in our thinking is required to drive the change needed.
Nature has ready-made solutions to a changing climate, if we choose to embrace it. Healthy native woodlands, peatlands, saltmarshes and seagrass meadows, soak up huge amounts of CO2. When these ecosystems function as they should, they can also reduce the impacts of flooding, drought and wildfires.
In restoring ecosystem health and locking away carbon, rewilding is a vital tool in the fight against climate change.
The Big Picture for people
A nature-rich Scotland is good for people. Beyond the joy and wonder that is essential for our wellbeing, nature is our life support system. Clean air and water, a stable climate and fertile soils are fundamental to our own existence.
Rewilding also provides the opportunity for vibrant communities to grow and prosper by working with nature. Rewilding can create jobs in hospitality, food production, research and restoration, sustainable hunting, timber products and natural capital investment
Rewilding presents new opportunities for sustainable business, strong communities and public wellbeing.
"Seeing The Big Picture enables us to think about and work with nature, in a new way. With a change in mindset, amazing things can happen.”
Peter Cairns, Executive Director
The Big Picture in Scotland
In some parts of Scotland, whole landscapes are already being transformed. Young forests are on the march, river systems are being restored and by giving nature more space, wetlands and peatlands are regenerating. Wild animals, such as beavers, red squirrels and golden eagles are being reintroduced to roam unimpeded across a landscape shaped and governed by natural processes.
Elsewhere in towns and cities, passionate communities are working together to create more space for bats, bees and butterflies, in parks, gardens and public spaces.
The vision that unites rewilding at these different scales, is one of restoration and recovery – a commitment to transform our degraded ecosystems so that they work in all their colourful complexity.
It’s time to make rewilding happen. It’s time to see The Big Picture.