The term refers to the process of managing natural resources, such as landscape, plants and wildlife, to allow them to grow wild.  In some ways, rewilding is a contemporary form of conservation and restoration.  Where conservation attempts to preserve natural resources and restoration attempts to bring back or reconstruct natural resources, rewilding is an attempt to deconstruct natural resources that suffered from some development or human activities, and make them wilder, more natural, less domesticated.

Reintroducing certain wild animals, such as wolves or coyotes or bears, in areas where they previously lived is an example of rewilding.  Another example is the reintroduction of ancient giant redwood trees at Birr Castle in Ireland.  See Interview with Diarmud McAree.  It can also involve re-establishing ecosystems with historical, indigenous species of plants.








While rewilding typically involves larger landscapes, especially when re-introducing wild animals, it can be done with small patches of land.  Some have encouraged farmers with unproductive land for farming to rewild that land and promote it for ecotourism.

Some further ideas to explore on Rewilding:

Identify a patch or large area of landscape in your area that is dominated by natural resources (e.g., grasses, plant and animal life, woods, meadows, bogs), and determine what can be done to rewild it.

What benefits would accrue from rewilding this area?

What would it cost to rewild the area?


Patrick Barkham, ‘It is strange to see the British struggling with the beaver’: why is rewilding so controversial?” The Guardian (3 July 2017).

“What is rewilding?” Rewilding Europe.

James Orr, “Urban rewilding: making our concrete jungles greener,” Green News (28 Sept 2017).

Interview with Diarmuid McAtree, a Director of Crann, Trees for Ireland, in current (November 2017) issue of


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