Functional Rewilding: Addressing the Challenge of Giving Control Back to Nature
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 October 2021) | Viewed by 8606
2. Land and Water, CSIRO, QLD 4810, Australia
3. James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, UK
Interests: conservation; biodiversity; agriculture; food security; climate change
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Interests: landscape ecology; restoration ecology; conservation biology; reintroduction biology
Human influence extends across the globe, from the tallest mountains to the depth of the oceans. There is a growing call for nature to be protected from the negative impacts of human activity, particularly intensive agriculture. A relatively new approach, within the “land sparing/land sharing” debate, is “rewilding”, defined as the restoration of self-sustaining and complex ecosystems, with interlinked ecological functional processes that facilitate minimizing or gradually reducing human intervention. The key theoretical basis of rewilding is to return ecosystems to a “natural” or “self-willed” state, with trophic complexity, dispersal, connectivity, and stochastic disturbance in place. In reality, this is constrained by context-specific factors, whereby it may not be possible to restore the native species that form part of the trophic structure of the ecosystem if they are extinct (e.g., mammoths, Mammuthus spp., aurochs, and Bos primigenius) or where populations/assemblages of native large herbivores/predators may not be able to survive or be accepted by the public in small-scale rewilding projects close to areas of high human density. Therefore, the restoration of natural trophic complexity and disturbance regimes within rewilding projects requires careful consideration if the broader conservation needs of society are to be met. This Special Issue seeks contributions from those who are involved in active rewilding projects. The emphasis will be on what challenges are being faced and how these are being overcome. This will allow us to take the lessons learnt from across the globe to chart a way forward in supporting the return of natural ecological processes on the pathway to rewilded ecosystems.
Prof. Dr. Iain J. Gordon
Prof. Dr. Adrian D. Manning
Dr. Javier Pérez-Barbería
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- trophic rewilding
- complex ecosystems
- trophic complexity