Whilst terms such as 'conservation', 'biodiversity', and 'climate crisis' are commonplace in our vocabulary today, 'rewilding' is one term you may be less familiar with.
What is rewilding?
Rewilding has one ultimate aim: to restore wild ecosystems which have been damaged by the effects of climate change. Rewilding efforts can take the form of reforesting, reintroducing species, and supporting ranger patrols. Rewilding has an emphasis on humans stepping back and leaving an area to nature in the long run, as opposed to more active forms of conservation.
How does it work?
Rewilding works by giving nature the support it needs to maintain and grow without further human intervention.
It all starts by first spotting an area which needs support; where wildlife might be in danger of dying, or which is lacking in sufficient biodiversity to stay healthy. Then, it’s important to look for any poisons or pollutants that might have damaged the space, and to find out if there are other humans in charge of the space - which can complicate things!
Sometimes, rewilding can start simply by stopping any further damage - like enforcing a ban on hunting in the area. But often, further intervention is needed. This can look like reintroducing an animal species, planting trees, or more complex ecological engineering. Then, over time, the space can begin to ‘rewild’.
Why is rewilding important?
Whilst it’s true that all conservation efforts can have great effects on the environment, rewilding, in particular, has a number of unique and positive impacts.
- Rewilding plays an important role in offsetting the ever-increasing levels of greenhouse gases gasses in the atmosphere
- Flooding will be slowed by rewilding, as rivers are encouraged to connect back to their floodplains (areas like wetlands)
-Spaces which have been allowed to ‘rewild’ can provide a breeding ground for many missing species to be re-established
- By rewilding the natural world, ecotourism (tourism intended to support conservation efforts) can flourish
How can I get involved?
Although many rewilding projects take part on a large scale, there are ways you can make a difference!
For starters, you can show your support for charities doing great work, by fundraising, signing petitions or shouting about them on social media. Mossy Earth is a good place to start. Their projects include reintroducing endangered species, preventing extinctions and working with rock climbers to save coastal plants.
You can also make a more direct impact by looking for volunteering opportunities in your community. One way to search for these could be to visit the websites of big charities like WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) and check out their ‘get involved’ pages. Even big cities like London have wild spaces you could contact to offer your help - from Woodberry Wetlands to Camley Street Natural Park.
Lastly, if you’re lucky enough to have a garden, you can start by rewilding there! Try seeing your garden from the perspective of the wildlife that lives there. Leave a section of untouched ‘mess’ for a hedgehog to hide in, or build up a pile of logs and branches to create a ‘bug hotel’.
How is Unifrog getting involved?
As a company, we’re dedicated to tackling climate change and mitigating our carbon footprint. We regularly organise for our team to take part in climate action volunteering, including helping on rewilding projects.
In 2020, we also asked you all to vote for which Mossy Earth rewilding project we should support - and you picked their cave clean up project! As part of this project, Mossy Earth are removing waste which has been dumped in a European underground cave network and, as a result, aiming to protect species unique to this location, like the Croatian baby dragon.
Good stuff from elsewhere
Mossy Earth's cave clean up
Learn more about Mossy Earth's cave clean up project here, and explore their other rewilding projects.
There are loads of ideas here, including ways you can make a difference on a smaller scale and tips for encouraging wildlife near your home.