Rewilding Scotland: Reconciling biodiversity with ecosystem service provision

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Geography

Abstract

Rewilding, broadly defined as 'the nature-led reorganisation and restoration of ecosystem processes and functions with minimal ongoing human intervention', is a nature conservation concept and philosophy rapidly gaining traction in both scientific and non-scientific circles. To this end, rewilding has been proposed as a major tool in mitigating biodiversity loss and climate change. Despite this, many rewilding interventions are based on opinion and anecdotal evidence and lack a scientific evidence base. Often, ungulate communities, namely deer and wild boar/feral pigs, are introduced to rewilding projects to mimic historical ecological processes. However, there is very little empirical research into how these 'megafauna' communities impact environmental processes. Furthermore, there is very little understanding of the socio-ecological conflicts ungulates cause on rewilding projects. To address some of these research gaps, the interactions and degree of competition between different ungulate species will first be elucidated, before attempting to infer how these 'megafauna' communities influence functional group diversity and carbon storage. Then, by modelling future scenarios the socio-ecological conflicts associated with rewilding will be elucidated. The Bunloit rewilding project in Scotland (https://www.bunloit.com) will be used as a study site to address these aims. Overall, this research aims to grow the scientific evidence base for rewilding.

Publications

10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/S007229/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2027
2547071 Studentship NE/S007229/1 26/09/2021 25/09/2025 Connor Thomas Lovell