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, Trustee

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.

Over time, Scotland has become a nature-depleted nation. Many species that were once prolific now teeter on the edge; others have been hunted to extinction. Centuries of ecological decline have led to the complex living systems upon which we all depend to falter and fail.

It doesn’t have to be this way.


There are many versions of rewilding. In some areas of Scotland, whole landscapes are being transformed by giving nature more space and freedom to allow forests, wetlands and peatlands to regenerate. Wild animals are being reintroduced to roam unimpeded across a seamless 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 return abundance and diversity of life to Scotland’s land and seas.

Rewilding is a journey that offers space for everyone. At its heart is a bold and ambitious new relationship with nature; an extraordinary opportunity to stitch back together an intricate tapestry of life.

“Rewilding is about the way we think; understanding that we are just one species among many, bound together in an intricate web of life that connects us with every other living creature on the planet.”

Peter Cairns, Executive Director


There is a growing scientific consensus that the next 30 years will be decisive in addressing climate breakdown and the global loss of nature. 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, young forests are on the march, river systems are being restored, 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.

Rewilding is a choice. We can choose to do nothing, effectively endorsing further ecological decline. Or, we can choose to transform 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 in our amazing country.

It’s time to rewrite nature’s story.

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