Open KE Fellowship: Developing best-practice for natural process restoration in the British uplands

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sussex
Department Name: Sch of Life Sciences

Abstract

The EU and UK Biodiversity Strategies have set ambitious goals of halting the decline in biodiversity and restoring ecosystems to maximise the services nature provides society by 2020. This Open NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship will help policy-makers and practitioners achieve these goals by producing best-practice guidelines for upland natural process restoration or 'rewilding'. This will be achieved by bringing together a network of primarily NERC funded academics, with practitioners, policy-makers, professional bodies and businesses to exchange knowledge and experience. Success will help safe guard natural heritage for future generations, alleviate major national challenges such as flooding and water quality, and provide more resilient rural communities and economies. Rewilding is an emerging approach within inter-disciplinary conservation science. It is proposed as a complementary method to established biodiversity conservation by re-establishing natural processes to allow ecosystems to restore and sustain themselves. Where successful it will deliver a sustainable and cost-effective approach to conservation by reducing the recurrent costs associated with direct management.

The overall aim of this Knowledge Exchange fellowship is to facilitate the restoration of naturally functioning upland ecosystems in Britain. The uplands are an important starting point because the impacts of actions here cascade down through river catchments with the flow of water, sediments and nutrients. The critical, overarching, natural processes considered for restoration will be predation, herbivory, disturbance and hydrology. The key objectives are: 1) to bring together academics, practitioners, policy makers and businesses in three workshops to co-produce best-practice guidelines to inform policy on natural process restoration; and 2) to disseminate these guidelines through direct engagement with stakeholders and through the creation of an online platform of resources.

Rewilding Britain is a UK charity that aspires to see habitats expand, wildlife multiply, and communities flourish with new opportunities. An important ambition for Rewilding Britain is to work with the academic community to collate, synthesise and disseminate the best available research to their partners, government bodies, landowners and the public. They wish to use this collaboration to create and maintain an online 'Rewilding Knowledge Hub' to engage stakeholders and the public.

While rewilding presents an exciting opportunity, it currently lacks a specific evidence base to properly assess its feasibility, value, risks and associated costs. There is, however, a considerable amount of relevant fundamental and applied conservation, ecology, ecohydrology, and socio-economics research that could aid the development of rewilding policy and best-practice. NERC has been an integral funder of much of this research. This Knowledge Exchange project will collate and synthesise the research of academic partners including Prof. Y. Malhi, Prof. D.W. Macdonald, Prof. W. Sutherland, Prof. R. Brazier, Prof. A. Newton, Dr. S. Carver, Dr. P. Jepson, and the applicant Dr. C.J. Sandom.

This synthesised knowledge will serve as a primer for a two-way knowledge exchange with the project's practical and policy partners through two workshops on the approaches, value, risks and costs of rewilding. A third workshop will be dedicated to co-produce best-practice guidelines for natural process restoration. Project partners include Rewilding Britain, John Muir Trust, Wild Europe, Woodland Trust, and Conservation Capital. Through stakeholder engagement and the development of best-practice guidelines, land managers will be able to identify and select appropriate cost-effective actions to reinstate upland natural processes as a result of this project. This will result in nature-based socio-economic development in the uplands that cascades downstream with the flow of water.

Publications

10 25 50
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Sandom C (2018) Rewilding in the English uplands: Policy and practice in Journal of Applied Ecology

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Sandom, C.J. (2019) Rewilding

 
Description My pilot Knowledge Exchange Fellowship has reported the variety of meanings rewilding has to practitioners, policy-makers, and academics. The common thread linking these meanings is that rewilding is an ecological process-based and nature-led approach to conservation, rather than one that is species or habitat target-based and human management-driven. By doing this and exploring rewilding sites across Britain I have established a framework for instigating and overseeing rewilding projects to help practitioners. Working with practitioners has identified that there are cultural, policy, and practical barriers to implementing rewilding, but that policy reform and public engagement could allow a greater application of beneficial rewilding. My project has successfully opened up new research questions. These questions include: 1) do large herbivores create a diverse habitat structure, and if so, when and how do they achieve this? 2) how can legislation be adapted to allow conservation/rewilding practices to be experimented with? 3) under what circumstances does rewilding deliver net benefits to nature conservation and ecosystem service delivery while reducing the costs of human management of nature? Through dialogue with practitioners at sites across the country, third sector organisations and policy-makers I have built a network to allow research to be carried to address these questions.
Exploitation Route Policy: the knowledge exchanged between policy-makers, practitioners, and academics and captured in my KE Fellowship can inform policy-makers developing post-Brexit policy for the Environment and Agriculture. In particular, the outputs of my KE fellowship will help those seeking to deliver the goals of the 25-Year Environment Plan, particularly in the sections dealing with using and managing land sustainably and recovering nature. Practice: the book chapter I have written reporting rewilding practices in Britain offers insights from rewilding practitioners and rewilding outcomes from across Britain and can help practitioners decide if and which rewilding related approach could be beneficial to them. If they do decide it is useful, the framework we have produced can help practitioners implement and oversee rewilding projects. Academic: the research questions identified offer opportunities for myself and other academics to address.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment

 
Description Citation and contribution to the POST-note on Rewilding and Ecosystem Services
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
URL https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0ahUKEwiS7sWZ6tXSAhVMIMAKHejaC...
 
Description Submitted evidence to Environmental Audit Committee enquiry into The Future of the Natural Environment after the EU referendum
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
URL http://data.parliament.uk/WrittenEvidence/CommitteeEvidence.svc/EvidenceDocument/Environmental%20Aud...
 
Description Submitted evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee inquiry into the 25-Year Environment Plan
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description Research Development
Amount £8,700 (GBP)
Funding ID R39GO1/CC8004/RDF018 
Organisation The Sêr Cymru National Research Network for Low Carbon, Energy and Environment (NRN-LCEE) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 05/2018
 
Description The environmental and social impacts of rewilding 
Organisation Anglia Ruskin University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have reviewed and edited the application for funding, which was successful. I have attended and contributed to a 1-day project planning meeting. I have given a departmental seminar on my rewilding work that the project will build on.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Helen Wheeler is leading the project. They have successfully secured funding for a 6 month post-doc position. They will carry out the main body of the research.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary, combining ecology, geography and social science
Start Year 2019
 
Description 100 priority questions for Landscape Restoration in Europe 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I was invited to join a workshop led William J. Sutherland (University of Cambridge) to identify the 100 priority questions for Landscape Restoration in Europe. The workshop has led to the production of a paper that is currently in review with Biological Conservation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Brendon Common AGM 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave a presentation and answered questions about what rewilding is. This was followed by some discussion about how it might impact farmers. Audience members requested that I speak at future events in other contexts. Some practitioners asked if they could engage conservation University students to teach them about upland farming.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented to the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums on rewilding and reintroductions (50). This sparked discussion about the role zoos can play in providing keystone species for rewilding activity and whether zoos should play a greater role in restoring important if not rare species. I have accepted an invitation to join the Durrell Conservation Advisory Group as a result.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Forestry England Ecologists Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented to 30 Forestry England ecologists on rewilding at their formal ecologists meeting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Meeting with Christopher Price - CLA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Intended purpose: Discuss what rewilding means to the CLA and its members. Identify risks and opportunities of rewilding in the Uplands. Identify policy barriers. Identify research gaps.

Outcomes:
Meaning: Rewilding includes a spectrum of activities, to some it signifies excitement, to others fear.

Barriers and Opportunities: Where rewilding includes species reintroductions, clear exit, mitigation and compensation strategies are needed. Rewilding needs support from both land owners and managers, and their views may not align. Rewilding needs to take place over large areas. The CLA may be more willing to support innovative approaches like the Nature Improvement Areas in the future.

Next steps: Invite Christopher to the workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Meeting with Colette Beckham, Chief executive of Cornwall AONB 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Intended purpose: Meet with the chief executive of the Cornwall AONB to discuss if, where, when, and how rewilding could be a supported land management strategy within the Cornwall AONB.

Outcomes: Colette Backham shared with me the aims and the responsibilities of AONBs, and the particular issues facing the Cornwall AONB. There was important discussion about the AONBs responsibility to protect the 'natural beauty' and 'landscape character' of the region. Colette believes that while this is a vague goal, it is a goal that resonates strongly with local stakeholders. There is also a strong sense that rewilding could be considered a threat to the landscape character of the region. However, she also highlighted that in some regions stakeholders are actively allowing change because they, for example, don't want fences erected to manage grazing intensity because they don't want fences to restrict access. She also indicated that she is in discussion with a farmer who wishes to consider beaver reintroduction on their land. She also indicated that a Knowledge Hub about rewilding ideas could be useful.

Impacts: Colette wishes to attend the workshop I am organising as part of my NERC KE fellowship to engage policy-makers, practitioners, and academics on: When, Where and How could ideas around rewilding be used to better support biodiversity and society in Britain's uplands post-Brexit?

Next steps: Send invitation to the workshop, and offer support for current rewilding related activities occurring in the Cornwall AONB.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Meeting with Doug Gilbert (Trees for Life) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I met with Doug Gilbert to discuss their approach to rewilding Dundreggan, Scotland, share knowledge, discuss opportunities to use Dundreggan as a research site to explore the impact of large herbivores on habitat structure, and visited the site. Knowledge sharing resulted in Dundreggan's inclusion in a book chapter (in press) produced to report rewilding activities in Britain. Doug was very enthusiastic about the possibility of instigating research on the role of large herbivores in creating vegetation structure. He is interested in establishing Dundreggan as a research site.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Meeting with Holly Deary (Scottish Natural Heritage) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Discussed SNH's approach to deer management and working with properties interested in rewilding. Our discussion informed a book chapter on Rewilding in Britain (in press). We also discussed whether Holly could support future research on the impact of large herbivores on vegetation structure.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Meeting with John Gorst, Gareth Browning, Simon Webb (Wild Ennerdale) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I met with John Gorst, Gareth Browning, and Simon Webb to discuss their approach to rewilding the Ennerdale Valley, Lake District, share knowledge, discuss opportunities to use Ennerdale as a research site to explore the impact of large herbivores on habitat structure, and visited the site. Knowledge sharing resulted in Wild Ennerdale's inclusion in a book chapter (in press) produced to report rewilding activities in Britain. They were all enthusiastic about the possibility of instigating research on the role of large herbivores in creating vegetation structure.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Meeting with Kevin Bishop CEO Dartmoor NP 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Intended purpose: Discuss how rewilding is and could be used in Dartmoor. Identify risks and opportunities of rewilding. Identify policy barriers. Identify research gaps.

Outcomes:
Rewilding is seen as spectrum of ideas ranging from reduced management to the wholesale change in approach put forward by George Monbiot.

Many see the value of many of England's treasured landscapes as a mix between natural and human processes, and that removing the human element lessens the value of these landscapes. Dartmoor seeks to facilitate discussion between land owners/managers to find common ground. A rewilding approach could threaten this because ecological processes tend to work over large areas. Dartmoor is employing restoration of peatlands in a way that could be considered rewilding. Dartmoor is also increasing the skills of farmers so that they are able to do their own monitoring of SSSIs.

Research gaps: Identifying to what extent rewilding is already happening within Dartmoor.

Next steps: Invite Kevin to the workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Meeting with Martin Lester - Wicken Fen 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I met with Martin Lester to discuss their approach to rewilding at Wicken Fen, National Trust, and visited the site. The discussion focused on their use of horses as a mechanism for disturbance to generate habitat structure. There was also discussion about how the management of the Fen is divided between a more natural process driven approach on the undesignated areas, and management to maintain favourable condition on the designated sites. This highlights the difficulty of taking a rewilding led approach on designated land. We also discussed opportunities to use Wicken Fen as a research site to study how large herbivores influence vegetation structure.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Meeting with Mike Daniels (John Muir Trust) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I met with Mike Daniels to discuss the John Muir Trust's approach to rewilding, share knowledge, and discuss opportunities to use JMT properties as research sites to explore the impact of large herbivores on habitat structure. Knowledge sharing resulted in Glenlude's inclusion in a book chapter (in press) produced to report rewilding activities in Britain. Mike was enthusiastic about the possibility of instigating research of rewilding on vegetation structure, providing that it did not require a significant time commitment of JMT staff. I also visited Glenlude and Carrifran Wildwood.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Meeting with Nigel Stone and Sarah Bryan of Exmoor NP 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Intended purpose: Discuss how rewilding is and could be used in Exmoor. Identify risks and opportunities of rewilding. Identify policy barriers. Identify research gaps.

Outcomes:
Rewilding lacks a clear definition, and is usually associated with tree regeneration and the reintroduction of large predators. There is also a feeling it is being targeted in places that are already wild, rather than rewilding areas that have been most disturbed by people. There is a sense that rewilding is already taking place on Exmoor, through reduced management by some land owners/managers.

Research gaps identified: need to identify what rewilding is occurring to date. There is a need to clarify what rewilding means and entails. Exmoor are considering management strategies that could be seen as a form of rewilding.

Brexit is seen as both a risk and an opportunity for the environment. Changes to subsidy regimes may allow a more diverse approach to farming.

Next steps: Invite Nigel and Sarah to the workshop. I have arranged to speak at the Exmoor Commoners Association AGM about rewilding after Sarah connected us.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Meeting with Robin Milton (NFU) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Intended purpose: Discuss what rewilding means to farmers. Identify risks and opportunities of rewilding on farmed land. Identify policy barriers. Identify research gaps.

Outcomes: A very constructive discussion was held in which Robin was able to describe how practices on his farm land have changed. He reported that they have taken some land out of agri-environmental schemes to increase production, allowing less favourable areas to have more dedicated environmental work. Robin also discussed ways in which he would like to see the subsidy system altered. He believes there needs to be more support of ecosystem services and natural capital, but thinks these concepts are two complex to form the basis of policy directly. He believes subsidy should be put in place to support grassland as the primary unit, but also supporting special features such as trees, hedgerows, ponds and woodland. He would like to see more freedom for farmers/land managers to devise and implement their own schemes in consultation with DERFA and Natural England.

Next steps: Invite Robin to the workshop. Take up invitation to meet more NFU people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Meeting with Shaila Rao (Mar Lodge/Scottish National Trust) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I met with Shaila Rao to discuss their approach to rewilding at Mar Lodge, share knowledge and discuss opportunities to use Mar Lodge as a research site to explore the impact of large herbivores on habitat structure, and visited the site. Knowledge sharing resulted in Mar Lodge's inclusion in a book chapter (in press) produced to report rewilding activities in Britain. Shaila was enthusiastic about the possibility of instigating research on the role of large herbivores in creating vegetation structure, was willing to offer some logistical support.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Meeting with Thomas MacDonell (Glenfeshie) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I met with Thomas MacDonell to discuss their approach to rewilding in Glenfeshie, Caringorms, share knowledge, discuss opportunities to use Glenfeshie as a research site to explore the impact of large herbivores on habitat structure, and visited the site. Knowledge sharing resulted in Glenfeshie's inclusion in a book chapter (in press) produced to report rewilding activities in Britain. Thomas was interested about the possibility of instigating research on the role of large herbivores in creating vegetation structure at the site but would like to see more details.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description National Nature Reserve Partnership Group Meeting: Rewilding theme 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 20 National Nature Reserve partners met to discuss how rewilding can help improve national nature reserves and how NNRs could benefit rewilding. I presented on my rewilding research, including the work conducted under my KE Fellowship
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Phone call with Chris Kaighin 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Intended purpose: Discuss what rewilding means to Natural England. Identify risks and opportunities of rewilding in the Uplands. Identify policy barriers. Identify research gaps.

Outcomes:
Meaning: Rewilding is being discussed but there is no official policy on rewilding in either Natural England or DEFRA. However, Natural England is involved with the Wild Ennerdale project, which he considers to be consistent with a rewilding project. NE are seeking to deliver resilient landscapes, and CK believes rewilding could be consistent with this ambition.

Barriers and Opportunities: The continued decline in biodiversity in Britain suggests we can't manage for all species directly, so rewilding presents an alternative approach. The current requirements of favourable condition of certain habitats and species is limiting the opportunities for experimentation in National Nature Reserves (Great Asby Scar was given as an example of this)

Research gaps: 1) Determine the potential for favourable condition to be determined by the functioning of ecological processes. 2) Can rewilding help deliver resilient landscapes? If so, when, where and how? 3) Can the outcomes of rewilding be reliably predicted?

Next steps: Invite Chris to the workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Phone call with Fiona Howie 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Intended purpose: Discuss what rewilding means. Identify risks and opportunities of rewilding. Identify policy barriers. Identify research gaps.

Outcomes: Rewilding means different things to different people. The spectrum ranges from less intensive management to animal reintroductions. The former is seen as broadly acceptable, while the latter creates nervousness. The role of ecological processes are not part of the debate yet.

Research Gaps: There needs to be a strategic debate about what types of rewilding are appropriate where.

Barriers: A barrier is that nature led management might not provide the multipurpose landscape that is desired in national parks.

Opportunities: Brexit is being seen as an opportunity, particularly linking funding to the delivery of ecosystem services. Disseminating knowledge relevant to rewilding would be seen as helpful.

Next steps: Invite Fiona to the 2nd of May workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Phone call with Keith Jones - Forestry Commission 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Intended purpose: Discuss how rewilding is and could be used in the forestry commission. Identify risks and opportunities of rewilding. Identify policy barriers. Identify research gaps.

Outcomes: The focus of the discussion about rewilding was on tree regeneration. Tree regeneration to help alleviate flooding is a key issue currently and one that is closely connected to the debate around rewilding. The FC is looking for evidence based solutions, and currently this means woodland regeneration in small catchments (<100 km2) that include settlements facing a flood risk is being considered. More research is needed to identify the best opportunities for using this approach, and to identify which other circumstances would make tree regeneration particularly worthwhile (e.g. tourism, biodiversity, water quality). Keith believes rewilding must be subject to proper Environmental Impact Assessments, just as a woodland creation project would need. This raises the question: how could an EIA be carried out for a rewilding project and its associated uncertainties.
Keith indicated that the discussion I had with him promoted discussion of this issue within the Forestry Commission.

Next steps: Invitation to workshop but Keith is unable to attend. I have asked for a possible replacement. Opportunity to follow up with key questions and develop a research agenda in this area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Phone call with Norman Cowling - Dartmoor Preservation Association 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Intended purpose: Discuss what rewilding means, if, how, where and when it could be used, identify the practical and policy barriers to rewilding, identify research gaps.

Outcomes: Rewilding is a spectrum, ranging from low intervention management to George Monbiot's more radical vision.

Barriers: There is a sense that people do not want the change in the landscape that these visions of rewilding will cause. The common land structure, multiple different common areas that have different rules and rights but combine to form one large area makes cooperation difficult.

Opportunities: There is a realisation that biodiversity is in decline, and there is a sense that some would like to see a more natural set of processes function in the landscape.

Research gaps: We need to improve our ability to predict what will happen under rewilding, and communicate it effectively with stakeholders.

Next steps: Invite Norman to the workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Phone call with Paul Burgess, CEO Nidderdale AONB 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Intended purpose: Discuss if, where, when, and how rewilding could be a supported land management strategy within the Nidderdale AONB. Identify risks and opportunities of rewilding in the Uplands. Identify policy barriers. Identify research gaps.

Outcomes: Rewilding means different things to different people, with George Monbiot driving a radical agenda that is threatening some farmers. There is a need to determine if alternative business models could be established in the uplands. He believes there is a useful discussion to be had around the potential for rural upland communities to deliver ecosystem services. He does not think that there is currently much scope to deviate from management based on recommended guidelines. He believes there is considerable relevant scientific evidence available that could be useful, but that it is behind a paywall. Thinks a Knowledge Hub of relevant information would be useful.

Impacts: Paul wishes to attend the workshop I am organising as part of my NERC KE fellowship to engage policy-makers, practitioners, and academics on: When, Where and How could ideas around rewilding be used to better support biodiversity and society in Britain's uplands post-Brexit?

Next steps: Send invitation to the workshop
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Phone call with Paul Esrich - Malvern Hills AONB 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Intended purpose: Discuss what rewilding means, if, how, where and when it could be used, identify the practical and policy barriers to rewilding, identify research gaps.

Outcomes: Current legislation (the designation of favourable condition of protected species and habitats) is a potential barrier to working with natural processes to conserve/restore biodiversity and ecosystem services. Research could seek to identify whether some species should protected because of their important function within ecosystems rather than based on their rarity. This could be a way of assessing favourable condition of ecological processes. There is a need to experiment to determine when and where different types of rewilding could be useful.

Next Steps: Invite Paul to the Rewilding in the Uplands workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Phone call with Rebecca Isted - Forestry Commission 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Intended purpose: Discuss how rewilding is and could be used in the forestry commission. Identify risks and opportunities of rewilding. Identify policy barriers. Identify research gaps.

Outcomes: Research gaps identified: 1) Explore the extent to which natural tree regeneration is being used as a means to restore woodland. 2) Explore whether favourable condition designations can be usefully altered to allow more favourable conservation. Advice and guidance needs: 1) Identify regions where natural tree regeneration is a viable approach to woodland regeneration. 2) Explore how knowledge about the landscape of fear and indirect effects on herbivores can be used to more naturally regulate herbivore numbers. 3) Develop best-practice policy to guide species reintroduction for ecological, social, economic benefits based on the updated IUCN species translocation guidelines. 4) Highlight and promote further research into processes associated with soil.

Next steps: Rebecca is unable to attend the workshop so seek alternative candidates.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Phone conversation with Patrick Thompson RSPB 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Intended Purpose
Discuss how rewilding is and could be used by the RSPB in the uplands. Identify risks and opportunities of rewilding. Identify policy barriers. Identify research gaps.

Outcomes: The RSPB is interested in the opportunities rewilding presents. They recognise that rewilding means different things to different people. To the Pat, rewilding means working with ecological processes, and believes this is consistent with RSPB policy for some time. The RSPB is currently developing their own position on rewilding, and Pat has recommended speaking to Gareth Cummings about it.

Barriers: Coping with multipurpose landuse and a nature based approach to management can be challenging. Brexit is creating a tension in the conservation community with some seeing it as a risk and others an opportunity.

Research gaps: Determine whether rewilding can reduce management costs. Determine to what extent rewilding can help restore ecosystem services.

Knowledge Exchange: Believes a website can fail to engage people, but a regular conference/workshop and forum could be useful.

Next steps
Pat will send information about the RSPB work on connecting health and nature. I will invite Pat to the rewilding workshop. Pat will put me in touch with Gareth Cummings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation to Megafauna Short Course, Aarhus University, Denmark 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I gave a presentation and led a discussion session about Rewilding in Britain to a group of PhD students and academics at Aarhus University, Denmark. I reported my insights from site visits and meetings with rewilding professionals from across the UK. My presentation sparked discussions about the role of large herbivores in conservation and rewilding. This led to a group of students working on a research project to investigate the role of horses in rewilding related projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation to Vincent Wildlife Trust 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented on 'What Rewilding is' to the Vincent Wildlife Trust to help them decide whether rewilding should be a part of their approach in the future. My presentation covered the discussions I've been having with other practitioners and the Rewilding in the Uplands workshop that I ran in May. The talk inspired considerable debate within the organisation. It also helped me clarify my thinking on what rewilding is and how it can be useful.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Researching rewilding in a changing Europe: Opportunity or Threat? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A partnership including Sophie Wynne-Jones, Matt Hayward, Neal Hockley, Prysor Williams, Dave Chadwick, Bridget Emmett, Chris Evans, Mike Woods, Peter Midmore, Jonathan Prior, Terry Marsden, Kim Ward, George Holmes and myself successfully applied for funding from NRN Research Development Fund to run and workshop and develop research partnerships on 'Researching rewilding in a changing Europe: Opportunity or Threat?' The workshop was held on the 10th January 2018 where research priorities were identified and interdisciplinary teams of researchers established to explore opportunities for addressing them.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Rewilding Britain - Establishing a Rewilding Network 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact I met with Rewilding Britain to discuss how I can help them establish a Rewilding Network
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Rewilding in Britain after Brexit: Policy & Practice 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Brexit has the potential to dramatically change land-use in the UK, due to changing policy, market pressures and regulatory arrangements. Perhaps most notably, the UK Government has stated a desire to replace the Common Agricultural Policy with an approach that provides public money for the delivery of public goods and services, which has similarly been echoed by the Welsh Government. This presents new opportunities for the expansion of emerging land management practices like rewilding, removing past barriers and creating new incentives. Rewilding is of particular interest because it seeks to create more self-sustaining socio-ecological systems by restoring nature's complexity and dynamism and so reduce the need for human management of nature.

This workshop brought together practitioners and policy-makers to identify priorities and next-steps to allow the implementation of beneficial rewilding. We collated the policy and practice recommendations of recent and imminent publications on rewilding in Britain, including those funded by my NERC KE Fellowship. We briefly presented these options and invited participants to identify their priorities, and through group work identify what needs to be done to set an implementation agenda that could facilitate the expansion of desired and beneficial rewilding in Britain post-Brexit.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://rewilding-uk.org/abstracts
 
Description Rewilding in the Uplands Knowledge Exchange Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 35 academics and practitioners attended the workshop to discuss the risks and opportunities of rewilding, barriers to putting rewilding into practice, and opportunities for overcoming these barriers. The aim was to share knowledge between academics and practitioners in order to identify research gaps, and areas to improve policy and practice.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Upland Alliance Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a stakeholder workshop run by the Upland Alliance and hosted by DEFRA. The workshop had three main aims:

"• To share insights on how to motivate and support upland land management;
• To explore the potential impacts of four upland support scenarios as a means to
identifying key issues, concerns and opportunities for future policy;
• To collate recommendations for policy planning and evidence-gathering."

I contributed to a workshop discussion group on Vibrant Cultural Landscapes. My contributions were recorded and logged in the outcomes report published by the Uplands Alliance. Rewilding was an important part of the discussions. I discovered some willingness from some practitioners and policy-makers to consider rewilding opportunities. This workshop has led to host of further meetings to discuss the potential role rewilding could have in the British uplands.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://uplandsalliance.wordpress.com/events/