What is rewilding?

Sandra Bartocha / Wild Wonders of Europe

What is rewilding?

Letting nature take care of itself

Grzegorz Lesniewski

Rewilding is an innovative and inspirational way of restoring Europe’s wild nature. By allowing natural processes to reshape and enhance ecosystems, rewilding can revitalise land and sea, helping to alleviate some of society’s most pressing challenges and creating spaces where nature and people can thrive in harmony.

Nino Salkic

Rewilding is also about the way we think. It is about understanding that we are just one species among many, bound together in an intricate web of life that connects us with the atmosphere, the weather, the tides, the soil, fresh water, the oceans and every other living creature on the planet.

“Rewilding breathes life back into our landscapes.
It helps us reconnect with the wonders of Europe’s spectacular wild nature.
It is our best hope for a future where people and nature not only co-exist, but flourish.”

Frans Schepers
Managing Director of Rewilding Europe

Rewilding Principles


Proving hope and purpose

Rewilding generates visions of a better future for people and nature that inspire and empower. The rewilding narrative not only tells the story of a richer, more vital tomorrow, but also encourages practical action and collaboration today.

Offering natural solutions

By providing and enhancing nature-based solutions, rewilding can help to mitigate environmental, social, economic and climatological challenges.

Thinking creatively

Rewilding means acting in ways that are innovative, opportunistic and entrepreneurial, with the confidence to learn from failure.

Complementary conservation

By enhancing wild nature and its myriad benefits at all scales, rewilding complements more established methods of nature conservation.

Letting nature lead

Rewilding lets restored natural processes shape our landscapes and seascapes in a dynamic way. This will see us intervene less in nature going forwards.

Working at nature’s scale

Rewilding means working at scale to rebuild wildlife diversity and abundance and giving natural processes the opportunity to enhance ecosystem resilience.

People are key

Rewilding embraces the role of people – and their cultural and economic connections to the land – working within wider, naturally vibrant ecosystems.

Building nature-based economies

By enhancing wildlife and ecosystems, rewilding provides new economic opportunities through the provision of nature-based livelihoods and income.

Acting in context

Approaching rewilding with a long-term knowledge of the environmental and cultural history of a place. Taking account of the cultural, political and physical realities of landscapes and seascapes in rewilding efforts.

Working together

Building coalitions and providing support based on respect, trust and shared values. Connecting people of all backgrounds to co-create innovative ways of rewilding and deliver the best outcomes for communities and wild nature.

Knowledge exchange

Exchanging knowledge and expertise to continually refine rewilding best practice and achieve the best possible rewilding results.