Increasing numbers of Scottish landowners are joining a chain of rewilding projects to tackle the nature and climate emergencies, and create new economic opportunities for rural communities. The Northwoods Rewilding Network is bringing together a diverse group of farms, estates, crofts and community lands, and has more than doubled in size to 28 land partners since its April launch. The sites now cover more than 7,000 acres between them, and Northwoods aims to grow to at least 10,000 acres within two years.
Operated by rewilding charity SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, Northwoods was created in response to a growing number of enquiries from landowners keen to contribute to Scotland’s role in reversing global nature loss and tackling climate breakdown, but who needed more knowledge and resources.
Partnering with small and medium-sized landholdings of 50-1,000 acres, Northwoods is creating a tapestry of nature recovery ‘stepping-stones’ across the landscape, with tailored support being offered to farmers, landowners and land managers.
Large-scale restoration of nature
Most rewilding activity in Scotland is presently limited to large estates and landscape-scale projects. Outside of these initiatives, the challenge of restoring nature and connecting habitats remains. James Nairne, Northwoods’ Project Manager said: “Northwoods is helping a much wider range of land managers play a bigger role in restoring and connecting nature-rich habitats. The levels of interest show that rewilding is increasingly seen as an important way of helping Scotland’s land and seas recover, and delivering a range of positive outcomes for nature and people.”
Research has estimated that only 29 countries out of 218 have lost more biodiversity than the UK, with Scotland faring only slightly better than the UK average. Rewilding is the large-scale restoration of nature, and goes beyond protecting fragments of nature now left. It restores vibrant living systems across woodlands, peatlands, wetlands, rivers, and at sea, and offers new opportunities for farmers on marginal land.
For more information and a list of Northwoods members, see: www.scotlandbigpicture.com
Main image: Highland cattle are used to replicate the actions of extinct herbivores such as elk and aurochs.