When we talk about rewilding, we are often talking about doing so on a landscape scale – over broad areas. Large scale conservation, ecosystem restoration and rewildling are certainly important. But it is also important to consider smaller scale rewilding schemes on individual properties, and even in individual gardens.
I’ve had a very busy start to 2022, and rewilding has, in many cases, been at the top of the agenda. From bringing nature and naturalistic planting into small home gardens, to ambitious and exciting rewilding plans for hundreds of hectares of land in Cambodia – I have been working on some very varied projects. But the goals have often been very similar, even when the scale and scope of the projects has not been similar at all.
Whether we are the custodians of large land areas, or only have our own small patches of soil to deal with, rewilding is crucial. We have to rewild our landscapes, and at the heart of all, we have to ‘rewild’ ourselves.
We have to unlearn bad habits we have learned, and, quite literally, return to our roots – understanding the animals that we are, and how we can meet our own needs without causing negative impacts on the world around us. We need to reconcile our desire and need to obtain a yield, with the crucial concept that it is not all about us. Homo sapiens, of course, are not the only species that matters.
As we develop the best strategies for rewilding, at any scale, we need to recognise when we have to intervene, and when we may be able to simply step back and let nature take its course.
Understanding what rewilding means – in terms of landscapes and in terms of ourselves, is one of the first steps in developing sustainable, permaculture strategies for people and planet.