What is rewilding and why should you consider it?01/09/20
As farmers and landowners look for more ways to diversify to ensure their future sustainability, then more opportunities emerge. One of the recent ideas to receive airtime is ‘rewilding’. But what is it and why should you consider it when looking at your options for diversification?
Rewilding: the facts
Our natural environment has been eroded over the decades and rewilding is all about the large-scale restoration of ecosystems, so that ultimately nature can take care of itself. Rewilding aims to reinstate and re-establish natural processes and, where appropriate, missing species – allowing them to shape the landscape and the habitats within.
An example of where this has been successful is the reintroduction of two pairs of beavers near Exmoor in Somerset and near the South Downs. This successful reintroduction will help with flood management and improved biodiversity in the future. Their presence in the river catchments is a sustainable way to help make the landscape more resilient to climate change, as the dams the beavers create will hold water in dry periods and help to lessen flash-flooding and reduce erosion.
It’s all about balance
In essence, rewilding encourages a balance between people and the rest of nature. It can potentially provide opportunities for communities to diversify and create nature-based economies; for living systems to provide the ecological functions on which we all depend; and for people to re-connect with nature.
There are many benefits associated with rewilding, from revitalising rural communities by diversifying economies, creating opportunities and minimising reliance on grants and subsidies, through to improving our sustainability through flood prevention, carbon storage and helping provide clean air, food, fuel and water.
Rewilding also provides numerous benefits to the natural environment. With a staggering 56% of species in the UK in decline and 15% threatened with extinction, it is important that biodiversity is given the chance to flourish again. Rewilding will help bring back numerous birds and mammals that have disappeared from the UK countryside in recent years. It also helps people reconnect with the planet, improving health and wellbeing and building a shared sense of community.
There may of course be downsides, such as loss of production, so rewilding needs to be carefully considered and expert advice sought.
Leaving a legacy
Rewilding offers a big opportunity to leave our landscapes and rural communities in a better state than they are today, for the benefit of future generations. With long-term benefits abundant, there are short term options in the form of funding and grants available to help make rewilding a viable decision, with Mid Wales alone receiving £3.4 million in 2018 for a rewilding scheme.
At Forge Property Consultants, we feel very fortunate to be able to work with owners and buyers on some of our most treasured rural assets and to put our extensive knowledge at your disposal. If you’d like to find out more about what diversification opportunities are open to you, then get in touch with our consultants today.