Conservation & Rewilding

The European Green Belt
What is Rewilding?

Rewilding is conservation on a grand scale, envisioned by biologists after it was discovered that most parks and protected areas in existence were too small and too isolated to save species over time. Rewilding as a conservation method is organized around the "three C's": Cores, Corridors, and Carnivores. Core protected areas enlarge habitat; corridors connect protected wilderness in order to allow migration and other forms of movement to prevent genetic bottlenecks; and carnivores--large predators or "keystone" species--regulate the ecosystem, ensuring stable relationships throughout the food chain.
Photo: Klaus Leidorf

Cone snails yield toxins that have led to breakthrough painkillers
What are ecosystem services?

Ecosystems provide essential provisioning services--food, fuel, and medicine--as well as regulating services: stabilizing climate, cleaning air, purifying water, controlling floods and erosion, storing carbon, detoxifying pollutants, pollinating plants, disposing of wastes. A recent study by the E.U. estimates the value of ecosystem services at 5-7 trillion dollars annually.

Everyone can help with rewilding.

* Plant native trees, plants, and shrubs on your property, providing food and homes for wildlife.
* Choose not to use fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, keeping watersheds and rivers clean.
* Recycle & reuse materials whenever possible: Consume less.
* Never buy wildlife products--bones, skins, tusks, or ivory.
* When you do buy, be a conscious consumer. Before buying any wood products, flooring, or furniture, ask about the source. Was it grown sustainably? Is it certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council? If wood comes from clearcutting or from threatened rain forests in Asia or Africa, don't buy it. Make sure your hardware store knows your preferences.
* Support local land managers, game commissioners, and national politicians who respect conservation and scientific research. Be vocal about your commitment to restoring top predators, such as wolves. Make them aware that wildlife and climate issues are important to you.
* If you travel overseas, support ecotourism initiatives run by local people, particularly those that keep tourism revenue in the source country.
* Volunteer for local conservation groups and help them by joining work parties to remove non-native plants and invasive species, planting native trees, and working on road-closures and erosion control measures.

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Being that forestry is my beloved area of environment and conservation, how much of your book and/or rewilding in general is focused on native plants and trees?

CF replies: While I can't quantify exactly how many rewilding plans in the world involve restoration of native plants, I can tell you that many projects described in the book are invested in this. For example, the Northern Rangelands Trust in Kenya is restoring native grasslands; the Terai Arc Project in Nepal is based on that country's impressive community forestry program--which encourages villages to protect native forests in exchange for certain rights to harvest reeds and other plants at certain times of year). The Gondwana Link effort in southwestern Australia is particularly notable in this regard: GL volunteers and staff are experts in the distinctive plant communities of the region--a hotspot of biodiversity. They collect seeds of native plants which are then painstakingly planted on properties slated for restoration. Another amazing project involving rainforest restoration lies in Indonesia. All these are described in the book.

I am a Reviews Editor for "Science Communication". Who do I contact to receive a review copy of Fraser's book?

Great talk today on Signorile's program. The book deserves wide exposure.

CF replies: Please let me know if you're a reviewer or editor and would like a review copy (just click on the "Contact Caroline Fraser" link to your right). I'll put you in touch with Metropolitan's publicist and make sure you get a copy.