What is rewilding Image



Scotland’s raw beauty and drama attracts millions of visitors from around the world. It’s easy to be seduced by the apparent wildness of the Scottish landscape, but there is a devastating truth hidden in the majestic mountains and glens of this nation.

It wasn’t so long ago that wild forests, rivers and wetlands abundant with life stretched across much of the country.

Today, millions of treeless acres dominate the map. Along with centuries of burning, draining and felling, the soaring numbers of sheep and deer are arresting the dynamic natural processes that have shaped this landscape for millennia. Many species that were once prolific now teeter on the edge and invisible are the animals that have been hunted to extinction – lynx, wolf, elk and boar.

The ecological unraveling of Scotland’s land and seas is largely unseen, unknown, even to people who live and work here. In geological time, our custodianship of the landscape can be measured in just a few seconds and yet in those seconds, we have not only changed the landscape beyond recognition, but crucially, our perception and understanding of it.

It doesn't have to be this way.


Rewilding is a new way of thinking. It's a bold vision to breathe new life into our damaged and degraded ecosystems.

Rewilding is about giving nature more freedom, so that rivers flow freely, forests and peatlands regenerate and wild animals can roam unimpeded across a seamless landscape, shaped and governed by natural processes. By allowing nature a free rein, wildlife populations can recover, creating a greater diversity and abundance of life.

Rewilding is good for wildlife but it's also good for people.

Wild nature can make us feel amazing. It can soothe our soul, allow our imaginations to soar and bring fresh perspective to our lives. A close encounter with a wild animal can be transformative, etching a memory that lasts forever. Children too need wildness; their physical and personal development is greatly enhanced by spending time outdoors and in wild places.

Rewilding is also good for business.

Nature-rich landscapes create jobs and opportunities through a diverse and innovative nature-based economy, enabling people to build lives and vibrant communities in some of Scotland’s most remote areas.

Ultimately, rewilding asks us to see the big picture; to recognise that we are but one species among many, bound together in an intricate web of life; to understand that our future is tied to the health of the planet, its soils, its weather and every other living creature.


Across the world nature is in massive decline against the backdrop of a climate emergency, which impacts on us all. We can no longer bury our heads and assume all is well. Saving fragments and threads of nature is no longer enough.

We need a transformational change in thinking if we’re to rebuild the whole.

Scotland stands at a crossroads. We have a frighteningly short window – perhaps just 30 years - in which to make choices. We can choose to do nothing, effectively endorsing further ‘dewilding.’ Or we can choose rewilding. We can choose to be a world leader in transforming our ecosystems so that they work in all their colourful complexity, giving life, cleaning air and water, storing carbon, reducing flooding and attracting people to live, work and visit our amazing country.

It's time to rewrite nature's story.

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