‘A hugely useful and fascinating resume of rewilding – what it means, where it came from, why it's important and where it's going. Jepson and Blythe have done a masterly job, explaining the science behind rewilding in an accessible, honest and compelling way. It deserves to be widely read and become a book of great influence.’ Isabella Tree, author of Wilding
'Compelling … [a] succinct and objective account' Financial Times
Rewilding is the first popular book on the ground-breaking science behind the restoration of wild nature.
As ecologists Paul Jepson and Cain Blythe show, rewilding is a new and progressive approach to conservation, blending radical scientific insights with practical innovations to revive ecological processes, benefiting people as well as nature. Its goal is to restore lost interactions between animals, plants and natural disturbance that are the essence of thriving ecosystems.
With its sense of hope and purpose, rewilding is breathing new life into the conservation movement, and enabling a growing number of people – even urban-dwellers – to enjoy thrilling wildlife experiences previously accessible only in remote wilderness reserves. ‘De-domesticated’ horses galloping across a Dutch ‘Serengeti’; beavers creating wetlands in the British countryside; giant tortoises restoring the wildlife of the Mauritian islands; perhaps one day even rhinos roaming the Australian outback – rewilding is full of exciting and inspirational possibilities.
Ecology consultants Jepson and Blythe provide an overview of the new conservation philosophy of rewilding in this straightforward and useful volume. The authors offer a brief history of the term, tracing it back to the mid-1990s, and explain the concept as one of "restoring degraded lands into thriving new natural assets" by reintroducing animal species and tapping into their ability to reshape ecosystems. To illustrate, the authors look at the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park in 1995; the animals' numbers rose from 66 in 1995, to over 300 by 2005. As another success story, the authors cite married couple Isabella Tree and Charles Burrell's repurposing of his ancestral 3,500-acre estate in West Sussex, England, from farmland into a nature preserve, by knocking down fences and allowing livestock to roam wild. Jepson and Blythe look ahead, as well, concluding with 10 predictions, including that rewilding will further "move into the cultural and policy mainstream" thanks to media exposure (such as provided by Tree's 2018 bestseller, Wilding) and that urban rewilding efforts will expand as well. In offering hope rather than pessimism for humanity's care of the environment, Jepsen and Blythe's well-explained primer will strike a chord with conservation-minded readers.