Rewilding - A New Paradigm for Nature Conservation in Scotland?

Calum Brown*, Robert Mcmorran, Martin F. Price

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Rewilding is a strategy for the conservation of complete, self-sustaining ecosystems, primarily involving the protection and, where necessary, reintroduction, of populations of keystone species in large, connected reserve networks. A potential method of preserving ecosystem functions and biodiversity, it is now receiving a great deal of practical and political attention, particularly in North America. In Scotland, where many native species have been extirpated in the relatively recent past, rewilding has clear relevance and may provide an overarching set of objectives for current programmes of native woodland restoration and species reintroductions. Nevertheless, rewilding is not widely used as a term or strategy in Scottish conservation. This review considers the development of the concept and its possible application in Scotland, and identifies substantial scope for rewilding, in terms of the restoration and protection of large areas of wild land, and of the reintroduction of native species which have been driven to extinction by human activity. As the environmental, social and economic benefits which are likely to result from a programme of rewilding in Scotland outweigh the potential drawbacks, the adoption of rewilding is recommended as one aim of environmental policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-314
Number of pages27
JournalScottish Geographical Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusFirst published - 9 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • conservation policy
  • environmental restoration
  • keystone species
  • rewilding
  • Scottish environment
  • trophic cascades


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