What is rewilding Image


"Many of us suffer from ecological blindness. We don't see the degraded landscapes and the animals we've lost because we're not conditioned to look."
Gus Routledge, Young Rewilder

It wasn’t so long ago that wild forests teeming with life stretched across much of Scotland. Rivers flowed freely, brimming with insects, birds and fish. A mosaic of rich wetlands was shaped by beavers and echoed to the calls of cranes.

Today, millions of treeless hectares dominate the map. Centuries of burning, felling and over-grazing have led to the living systems upon which we all depend, to falter and fail. All of Scotland's large carnivores are extinct, so too most of its large herbivores. Many species that were once prolific now teeter on the edge, and conservation efforts focus on saving the fragments and threads of nature we have left.

It doesn’t have to be this way.


Rewilding seeks to return abundance and diversity of life to Scotland’s land and seas. It’s about healing our damaged and degraded ecosystems, giving nature more freedom, so that forests, wetlands and peatlands regenerate, and wild animals can roam unimpeded across a seamless landscape, shaped and governed by natural processes.

Rewilding asks us all to reconsider our place in the natural order as one species among many, bound together in an intricate web of life that ties us to every other living creature on the planet.

Rewilding is good for people.

Wild nature can make us feel amazing. A close encounter with a wild animal can be transformative, etching a memory that lasts forever. Nature can soothe our soul, allow our imaginations to soar and bring fresh perspective to our lives. Children too need wildness; their physical and personal development is greatly enhanced by spending time outdoors and in wild places.

Rewilding is good for business.

Nature-rich landscapes create jobs and opportunities through a diverse and innovative nature-based economy, enabling people to build lives and vibrant communities in some of Scotland’s most remote areas.


Nature is in global decline. There is a growing scientific consensus that the next 30 years will be decisive for wildlife, climate and people. Just 30 years. Within this frighteningly narrow window, a huge shift in our thinking is required.

With a change in mindset, amazing things can happen. Already, rewilding actions are bringing whole landscapes back to life. Sea eagles are once again soaring high in Scottish skies, ospreys and pine martens have bounced back, and beavers are rejuvenating Scotland’s wetlands after an absence of 400 years. These remarkable stories show what is possible when people work together to create positive change.

Rewilding is a choice. We can choose to do nothing, effectively endorsing further ‘dewilding.’ Or, we can choose to be a world leader in transforming our ecosystems so that they work in all their colourful complexity, giving life, cleaning air and water, storing carbon, reducing flooding and attracting people to live, work and visit our amazing country.

It’s time to rewrite nature’s story.

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