Europe is changing
Nature in Europe is in a state of dramatic change. On the one hand, biodiversity is still declining, but on the other hand there is an impressive wildlife comeback going on. Because of huge socio-economic and lifestyle changes there is a wide and increasing land abandonment. At the same time there is a strong growth within nature-based tourism. On top of that, European policy is shifting towards a more positive attitude to wilderness, wildlife and rewilding. We believe these facts offer opportunities for wild nature in Europe that are bigger than for centuries.
Every period in time brings with it opportunities and challenges. The 21st century Europe is no different. We are exposed to economic downturn, social conflict, a continued loss of biodiversity and natural disasters increasingly associated with climate change.
A few trends are particularly relevant for nature and these were the main reasons for starting Rewilding Europe as a new initiative:
- Urbanisation and land abandonment leading to depopulation of rural areas in Europe. Something that is taking place both in agricultural and in forested areas. These sociocultural and economic problems could be turned into new opportunities.
- A substantial comeback of a number of iconic and keystone wildlife species. This offers great opportunities for Europeans to enjoy and benefit from this wildlife comeback.
- An increasing demand for experiencing all kinds of wild nature and seeing its wildlife. Connected to an increasing tolerance from people towards wild beings. This is one of the main reasons for the wildlife comeback, which in its turn also provides the possible base for a number of wildlife-related tourism products.
- An increasingly favorable European policy towards wildlife, wilderness and rewilding. Especially related to the recently approved wilderness resolution by the European Parliament, the EU Commission’s new biodiversity strategy for Europe and the Natura 2000 Network.
Can we bring the biodiversity decline in Europe to a halt, produce an additional kind of nature conservation that costs less and delivers more new economic value, lets wild species and habitats come back, and better safeguards our shared natural heritage for the future?
We believe there is a way, and we intend to explore and find that way, together with as many like-minded partners as possible. If there is a will, there is a way to reconnect people with nature, and a way to combine that with economic development in countryside Europe.
We call this way rewilding. Rewilding of areas, habitats, species and minds.
Making Europe a Wilder Place.