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Scientists Present Roadmap To Return More Land To Wild Conditions

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Monday, April 29, 2019 - 5:05am
Updated: Monday, April 29, 2019 - 6:54am

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Solvin Zankl/Rewilding Europe.
The Peene river is an important wetland area in the German part of the Oder Delta and a rewilding success story.

Ecosystem and biodiversity losses continue at alarming rates despite conservation and restoration efforts. Now, a new paper advocates for reconsidering an approach called "rewilding."

The paper appears in the journal Science.

Rewilding focuses on adding more land in a natural and self-sustaining state to restore ecosystem functions like habitat, water purification and carbon sequestration.

In the past, critics have accused rewilding proponents of lacking a clear definition or goal, and of disregarding human interests. The new roadmap and call-to-action seeks to correct those oversights.

Arizona State University postdoc researcher Krista Kemppinen studies conservation, but did not work on the publication. She says the paper addresses key ecological and human concerns with an iterative process.

"You make an assessment of the situation, what it is that you're trying to achieve. And you adapt also with input from the community, so it is not about excluding them."

Kemppinen was also impressed that the paper offered clear, measurable criteria for designing and evaluating rewilding plans.

Solvin Zankl/Rewilding Europe.
Canoe on the Peene river, Anklam, Germany.