New IUCN Paper – Guiding Principles for Rewilding

Jun 18, 2021

The co-chairs of the IUCN CEM Rewilding Thematic Group (RTG) along with 30 leading rewilding experts have published a paper in Conservation Biology on “Guiding Principles for Rewilding”. Ten basic principles are identified along with a core definition based on a detailed survey of rewilding pioneers and organisations together with a review of over 400 scientific papers. These have been discussed and agreed in series of international workshops by over 150 rewilding experts and practitioners with the aim to rewild safely and suggest mechanisms for policymakers and funding agencies to assess the effectiveness of projects and so prioritise support.

  1. Rewilding uses wildlife to restore food webs and food chains.
  2. Rewilding plans should identify core rewilded areas, ways to connect them, and ensure outcomes are to the mutual benefit of people and nature.
  3. Rewilding focuses on the recovery of ecological processes, interactions and conditions based on similar healthy ecosystems.
  4. Rewilding recognises that ecosystems are dynamic and constantly changing.
  5. Rewilding should anticipate the effects of climate change and act as a tool to mitigate its impacts. 
  6. Rewilding requires local engagement and community support.
  7. Rewilding is informed by science and considers local knowledge.  
  8. Rewilding is adaptive and dependent on monitoring and feedback. 
  9. Rewilding recognises the intrinsic value of all species.
  10. Rewilding is a paradigm shift in the coexistence of humans and nature.

These have been adopted by the Natural Capital Laboratory in the United Kingdom and were used to help develop principles in the Global Charter for Rewilding Earth. The RTG is now working with partners, including the GRA, to develop and write the IUCNs Guidelines on Rewilding for Ecological Restoration. An IUCN Issues Brief provides further details.

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