This week’s feature research article in Conservation Letters is a short perspective paper on the role of rewilding in achieving natural resource management objectives. The authors’ primary argument is that rewilding should focus on the restoration of ecological processes that contribute to desired outcomes, and that it should be considered a tool for achieving a desired outcome, rather than being the outcome per se. From a management perspective, this also suggests that rewilding is an approach by which the need to manage undesirable impacts (such as overgrazing, predation, or fire) can be reduced, through the introduction of ecological processes that allow systems to become more self-managing. With this perspective in mind, the authors suggest that there may be policy opportunities to consider, through the recognition in policy of the important ecological role that different species may play, as well as their formal conservation status. While the emphasis in this paper focuses on large mammalian reintroductions in North America and Europe (e.g. wolves, bison), the concepts apply more broadly to the restoration of ecological processes through whatever mechanism, thereby steering the rewilding conversation away from one concerned with animal translocation, to one in which the focus is on what we want to achieve and what we need to do to achieve it in the long run. The article can be downloaded here.
Rewilding in achieving NRM objectives