Building a rewilding area portfolio

We are putting our vision into practice through working in-depth in 10 selected areas in Europe, using them as model examples of how rewilding could be carried out in different ecosystems, cultures and economies. These rewilding areas are at the very front line of our initiative.

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The selection of the rewilding areas started in 2010 and it was done in two steps:

First group

At the Conference in May 2009, on “Wilderness and Large Natural Habitat Areas” and hosted by the Czech European Union Presidency and the European Commission, the initiators behind Rewilding Europe presented our vision and invited the participants to spread the word about submitting nominations for potential rewilding project areas. 20 applications from all over Europe were then submitted by a variety of organizations, and based on an initial screening of these, it was decided to carry out detailed feasibility studies in six of the areas. Later on-site visits assessed data about the current protection status, land ownership, human settlement, threats, land abandonment levels, tourism, other relevant business initiatives, ecological/wildlife status, and the institutional situation. After these studies, five areas were selected in 2010 to serve as our first rewilding areas. After a detailed planning process and after substantial funding was secured, these first five were taken on board in 2011 and 2012. In all these rewilding areas work begun at the end of 2011 or at the beginning of 2012:

  • Western Iberia (Portugal and Spain)
  • Velebit Mountains (Croatia)
  • Southern Carpathians (Romania)
  • Danube Delta (Romania)
  • Eastern Carpathians (Slovakia and Poland)

Second group

During 2012, we began to explore 10 further possible nominations that we had received. In total we had yielded some 30 nominations from all over Europe. Based on the experiences from the first group and the lessons learnt, we carried out an even more detailed analysis of these areas. As the result, the following three areas came on board:

  • Central Apennines (Italy)
  • Rhodope Mountains (Bulgaria – with extension possibility into Greece)
  • Oder Delta (Germany/Poland)
  • Lapland (Sweden)