In a milestone for rewilding, the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor has endorsed a definition of rewilding that can be used by the Scottish Government and wider public sector.
The Scottish Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor has today (4th July 2023) endorsed a definition of rewilding that can be used by the Scottish Government and wider public sector.
This marks a significant step forwards for a government that has previously avoided using the word ‘rewilding’, despite the increased number of rewilding projects across Scotland.
Steve Micklewright, Scottish Rewilding Alliance Convenor and CEO of Trees for Life said, ‘After many years of rejecting ‘rewilding’, regarding it as too controversial and challenging, it is good to see that the Government have finally caught up with something rewilding practitioners have known for a long time – rewilding addresses the dual nature and climate emergencies and can help create a nature-based economy that means communities can thrive in changing times.’
Work by the John Hutton Institute that included input from civil servants, green investors, academics and two environmental organisations, but lacked involvement from many of Scotland’s rewilders, helped to create the definition. Steve added, ‘The Government definition is to be welcomed. It focuses on what is different about rewilding for land managers and how it seeks to ensure it can benefit local communities. It is therefore an essential step in creating a #RewildingNation.’
The Scottish Rewilding Alliance has called on the Government to declare Scotland the world’s first Rewilding Nation, and commit to start the process of rewilding 30% of Scotland’s land and sea by 2030. Steve said, ‘There is now a groundswell of rewilding happening across Scotland and we are hopeful that the next few years will take us closer to being a #RewildingNation. Growing Government support and endorsement is essential in achieving this.’
Some who participated in developing the definition voiced concern over what they perceived as the divisive nature of the term rewilding. Steve said, ‘Scotland is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world. Our attempts to protect nature over the last 60 years have failed. Language changes. Rewilding signals change and bold action and it is something that inspires people to take action – and we need to challenge those that do not.’
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