Can rewilding work for everyone? Targeted rewilding to enhance ecosystem service delivery in the English uplands.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Environment, Education and Development


Upland landscapes provide vital direct and indirect benefits to society and the economy. To better understand, manage and communicate the socio-economic benefits of nature, policy-makers are increasingly adopting the concept of 'ecosystem services' (Rafaelli and White, 2013). In the UK, upland management has traditionally prioritised 'provisioning ecosystem services' based around production, such as sheep-farming and forestry. However, this has caused significant environmental damage with widespread impacts, such as water pollution and lowland flooding. These issues have elicited proposals for the uplands to be 'rewilded' (Merckx and Pereria, 2015), and for policies to be directed towards payments for ecosystem services (PES) to ensure the uplands provide a broader range of socio-economic as well as environmental benefits. In the UK, debates about the future of the uplands have been reinforced by the impending policy vacuum when the UK leaves the EU, meaning many upland policies, including the Common Agricultural Policy, will be superseded by UK-specific legislation.

This project will work with Moors for the Future Partnership (MFFP), to explore how integrated solutions can be delivered at the landscape-scale in the uplands of the PDNP and South Pennines. MFFP has a number of projects to restore natural vegetation in the uplands, including restoring blanket bog and planting woodlands on steep upland valleys; the latter led by the Forestry Commission's 'Woodlands for Water' project, identifying potential areas for upland afforestation.


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