What is rewilding Image


"Many of us suffer from ecological blindness. We don't see the degraded landscapes and the animals we've lost because we're not conditioned to look."
Gus Routledge, Young Rewilder


Despite its beauty and drama, Scotland has become a nature-depleted nation. It wasn’t so long ago that wild forests, rivers and wetlands abundant with life stretched across much of the country. Today, unravelled by a few centuries of burning, draining, felling and overgrazing, millions of treeless acres dominate the map. Many species that were once prolific now teeter on the edge, and invisible are the animals hunted to extinction – lynx, wolf, elk and boar.

Scotland’s ecological decline 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 bold vision to breathe new life into our damaged and degraded ecosystems. It’s about giving nature more freedom, so that rivers flow freely, forests and peatlands regenerate and a greater diversity and abundance of wild animals can roam unimpeded across a seamless landscape, shaped and governed by natural processes.

Rewilding is a new way of thinking.

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.

Rewilding is good for people.

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

Rewilding is 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.


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.

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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