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Rewilding Scotland

One of the newest trends in terrestrial conservation in the United Kingdom is ‘rewilding’ where conservationists attempt to return our landscapes to their natural state. Through increased organic farming and tourism projects, these efforts aim to propagate a symbiotic relationship between humans and the wild to create healthier and more sustainable ecosystems.

The process of rewilding was inspired by the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 where the surrounding environment in Northern Ukraine, was catastrophically devastated from the nuclear fallout. Currently, radioactivity levels remain too high for human habitation, however for the local fauna and flora it is a completely different story. Since the disaster, the last thirty years has transformed the deserted city into one of the world’s most intriguing nature reserves.

Chernobyl has now been reclaimed by wild boar, bison, elk and wolves, interestingly, all in much higher abundance than the surrounding area. Trees once decimated by radiation now sprout up, and plants cling to the abandoned buildings. There is still much debate as to the overall health of the animals and plants that reside there, nevertheless Chernobyl is a shining example of nature’s ability to rebound from an environmental disaster, and is the notion behind ‘rewilding’.

Rewilding supports ecosystems to the point where it can take care of itself. The premise of rewilding encourages humans to reconnect with the natural world and act upon the species extinction and climate change that threatens us all. This holistic approach takes account of the bigger picture, allowing nature to take the lead in creating strong local economies for future ecosystem prosperity.

“Nature has the power to heal itself and heal us, if we let it.”

Rewilding Britain

Gathering momentum for some time now, conservationists are making use of Scotland’s sparsely populated land, making it a pioneering nation for rewilding. Thus far, projects have included beaver reintroduction and planting of vast pine forests. Although not as extreme as Chernobyl, much of the United Kingdom has been exploited for agricultural use for hundreds of years. Millions of tourists each year descend on Scotland in search of ‘Caribbean-esque’ beaches and dramatic craggy mountains surrounded by ‘wild’ landscapes.

However, what is perceived today is a shadow of its former self. Scotland was once named by the Romans, ‘Caledonia’ translating to ‘wooded heights’, yet now ranks among once of the most nature-depleted regions in the UK. Rewilding aims to return it to its former state, with the hope that Scotland once again will be governed by Scotch pine, oak and rivers, teeming with salmon and trout.

“We are learning more and more that the natural world, upon which we wholly rely, is an amazing array of complementary connections.  Healthy ecosystems and biodiversity are an integral part of a functioning planet and our own future.  Join us in Scotland and explore the wonder and restoration of nature.” 

Duncan Grossart
Pelorus Foundation Trustee

Specifically in Dumfries and Galloway, the Wildwood Project bought the valley of Carrifran to restore it to the landscape it was approximately 6000 years ago. The ultimate goal of this project is removing all human intervention, allowing a truly wild ecosystem to develop.

SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, uses storytelling to inform and inspire change, and enables practical rewilding through partnerships and collaborations. You have the opportunity to join their expert guides on a Rewilding Journey of your own – in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. This is an inspirational learning opportunity that you can enjoy in the company of like-minded travellers.