Rewilding is a conservation and ecological restoration approach that seeks to restore natural ecosystems by reintroducing or encouraging the recovery of native plants, animals, and ecological processes. The primary goal of rewilding is to create self-sustaining, functioning ecosystems that closely resemble their natural state.
The Rewilding Europe programme, launched in 2011, has been a cornerstone for rewilding efforts in the continent. This program aims to re-establish natural processes, increase biodiversity, and create a wilder Europe by 2030. It focuses on creating large-scale, functioning ecosystems while also benefiting local communities and economies.
Some examples of EU major engagements concerning rewilding:
- The EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, adopted in May 2020, sets ambitious targets for the protection and restoration of biodiversity. Under this strategy, the EU aims to protect 30% of its land and sea areas, and to restore degraded ecosystems through a series of initiatives, including rewilding.
- The Natura 2000 network is one of the largest coordinated networks of protected areas in the world. It encompasses designated sites across Europe that aim to conserve and safeguard species and habitats.
- The EU has dedicated substantial funding to support rewilding projects through funding mechanisms such as the European Regional Development Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and the Life Programme provides financial support for rewilding initiatives across the continent. These funds are critical in enabling local stakeholders to carry out restoration and rewilding projects.
- The European Green Deal, a comprehensive and ambitious plan to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050, includes rewilding as a key component. The deal focuses on restoring natural ecosystems, enhancing biodiversity, and promoting sustainable agriculture and forestry.
- The EU encourages sustainable land use practices, which include rewilding initiatives that help to restore and maintain healthy ecosystems. Promoting sustainable land use not only benefits the environment but also supports local communities through the development of nature-based tourism and the creation of green jobs.
Wild Europe. (n.d.). Rewilding Europe. Retrieved from Restoration: https://www.wildeurope.org/restoration-rewilding-europe-programme/
European Commission. 2022. Green Deal: pioneering proposals to restore Europe’s nature by 2050 and halve pesticide use by 2030. Retrieved from Press Corner: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_22_3746
Written by Marina Scelta
Born in Palermo (Italy), passionate about learning languages since a very young age, she studied Interpreting and Translation for English and French in her hometown, then moved to London for a Master’s Degree in the same domain (University of Westminster), eager to earn some first-hand experience in an international environment. In 2020, she decided to move back to Italy, where she applied for her second Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages for International Communication (Università degli Studi di Torino). In 2021, she had the opportunity to move to Strasbourg as an Erasmus student for almost one year, at the end of which she made of that city her new home. Currently in the process of writing her master’s thesis, in her free time Marina enjoys travelling, singing, walking in the nature, solving crosswords puzzles, and mostly looking around for vegan food.