The practice of helping large areas of land to return to a wilder and more natural state.

Oxford English Dictionary 2019 1


Soule and Noss, 1998 2

Development of the rewilding concept: Rewilding was defined in 1998 as “the scientific argument for restoring big wilderness based on the regulatory roles of large predators” characterised by three features: large, strictly protected, core reserves (the wild); connectivity; and keystone species.

Perino et al., 2019 3

The rewilding concept has evolved from this definition to include a range of approaches. Examples of more modern rewilding approaches include trophic rewilding, which advocates the reintroduction of missing keystone species, and ecological (or passive) rewilding, which emphasises passive management of ecosystems. While the ecosystem features that rewilding aims to restore are characteristic of wilderness areas, modern rewilding concepts focus on autonomy of natural processes across a variety of settings and spatial scales, from urban green spaces to abandoned agricultural landscapes.

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