Rewilding: what it is and projects - Summary

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The consumption of natural resources by our society implies changes or alterations in ecosystems and their biological processes. Sometimes these alterations are irreversible or irreparable. For its part, rewilding arises as a response to these changes and aims to revert those altered aspects of ecosystems to their original state. To understand the subject in depth, we will dedicate this Green Ecologist article to develop everything about what is rewilding and what projects are thereWe will also explain its importance. We invite you to continue reading and discover it.

What is rewilding and its history

The term rewilding comes from English and, although you frequently find it in this language, in Spanish it means 'resilvestration' or 'resilvestration'. Currently, rewilding is defined as the process of reintroduce wild organisms or restore ecological processes in ecosystems, where these organisms and processes have disappeared or are dysfunctional. The truth is that in the scientific community, there is still no clear agreement on the concept of rewilding. However, over the years, the term was applied with different approaches that made it possible to arrive at the current definition.

  • In principle, the term rewilding emerged in the 1980s and its concept focused on ensuring the connection of large areas and releasing key species in them.
  • Later, another approach to rewilding appeared that was associated with the reintroduction of carnivorous mammals, considered top predators of the food chain. Here, the power of large predators in biological processes and population regulation was emphasized.
  • For its part, one of the most predominant approaches that rewilding had was related to the reintroduction of wild mammal species or the restoration of the ecosystem from the reintroduction of some Pleistocene megafauna species in North America, or at least descendant species of these animals, such as elephants and camels. In particular, this last point was highly controversial and its feasibility and appropriateness have been discussed.
  • Other rewilding perspectives were linked to the de-domestication of domestic animals, especially those belonging to the order of the Ungulates, to the reintroduction of plant species, since they serve as habitat for other species and to the restoration of abiotic processes of ecosystems instead of the reintroduction of species, among other visions.

Rewilding projects in the world

Below we will briefly develop some successful rewilding and resilience projects around the world.

Rewilding of the anteater in Iberá

Within the framework of a project called Iberá project, several species that were in danger of extinction were reintroduced in Iberá, Argentina, among them the jaguar and jaguar (Panthera onca), the red macaw (Ara chloropterus), the deer of the pampas (Ozotoceros bezoarticus) and many more. In particular, the anteater or yurumí (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) was the first species they started the rewilding project with. This project began in 2007 and after years of work, today there is a population of anteaters that sustain By herself.

Rewilding of wolves in Yellowstone

Although Yellowstone was declared a National Park in 1872, human activities within it continued for a time and consequently, in the early 20th century the wolves of the species Canis lupus they were eradicated. Between 1995 and 1996 the plans of reintroduction of wolf to YellowstoneFor this they released 14 wolves of the species from Canada. The reintroduction of the wolves reduced the enormous population of deer of the species Cervus elaphus that were severely affecting the forest vegetation by overgrazing and over-browsing. As a result, the balance of before was restored and the wooded vegetation was able to recover.

Rewilding in the Apennine Mountains

This project, unlike the previous ones, does not propose the reintroduction of any particular species but rather the development of ecological corridors which together cover more than 100,000 hectares of the Apennine Mountains of Italy and which connect 5 national parks. With this initiative, it is tried protect the diversity of flora and fauna of the region, with a special focus on the Apennine brown bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus), an emblematic species of the place that is in danger of extinction. You can learn more about Ecological Corridors: what they are, types and importance by reading this other post.

Importance of rewilding

As can be seen, the term rewilding or resilvestration does not have a simple definition. Despite this, the concept of rewilding presents different approaches that are very important in conservation biology since, through these processes, an attempt is made to reverse or reduce disturbances to ecosystems caused by human activities, through the reintroduction of species and the restoration of abiotic factors of the ecosystem.

In themselves, rewilding or resilience projects have the potential to return to ecosystems those functionalities that were lost as a result of anthropic activities. Therefore, rewilding does not only bring with it environmental benefits, but also economic and social.

If you want to read more articles similar to Rewilding: what it is and projects, we recommend that you enter our Ecosystems category.

  • Prior, J., & Brady, E. (2022). Environmental Aesthetics and Rewilding. Environmental Values, 26 (1), 31-51.
  • Iberá Project. Giant anteater. Rewilding Argentina Foundation. Recovered from:
  • Sandom, C., Donlan, C. J., Svenning, J. C., & Hansen, D. (2013). Rewilding. Key topics in conservation biology 2, 430-451.
  • What are we doing here ?. Central Apennines, Italy. Rewilding Europe. Recovered from:
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