Rewilding is large-scale conservation aimed at restoring and protecting natural processes and core wilderness areas, providing connectivity between such areas, and protecting or reintroducing apex predators and keystone species. Rewilding projects may require ecological restoration, particularly to restore connectivity between fragmented protected areas, and reintroduction of predators where extirpated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rewilding_(conservation_biology)Within ecological research the approach of rewilding in protected area design, was defined in the 1990s within the discipline of biology conservation as the scientific argument for restoring big wilderness based on the regulatory roles of large predators, (reference from http://rewilding.org/rewildit/what-is-rewilding/ according to Soulè and Reed Noss in their landmark 1998 Wild Earth article Rewilding and Biodiversity.) Soulè and Noss recognize three independent features that characterize contemporary rewilding (the 3 Cs):
Cores: Large, strictly protected core reserves (the wild)
Carnivores: Keystone species.Qualitative research on the concept of rewilding shows that it has evolved within the nature conservation movements with as its two most prominent spokespersons the environmentalist Dave Foreman (US) and the writer/journalist George Monbiot (UK). Although they do not have confrontational positionings on the concept, their approach to restoring nature does have differences. As an environmental activist and co-founder of Earth First, Dave Foreman has published the book Rewilding North America (2004) and co-established the think tank Rewilding institute that argues the need to: protect and restore big wilderness-area complexes ...not only necessary for inspiration and a true wilderness experience, but are necessary for the protection and restoration of ecological integrity and native species of diversity (Source: http://rewilding.org/rewildit/what-is-rewilding) George Monbiot is known for his environmental and political activism, and his environmental op-ed columns in The Guardian. He has published the book Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding (2013) advocating the large-scale restoration of complex natural ecosystems whereafter he as well as performing a TED-talk For more wonder, rewild the world. Monbiot argues that re-introducing what he terms megafauna, big top-of-the-food-chain predators, that drive the dynamic processes, we let nature take its course in a restoration process. Monbiots proposition differs slightly from Foreman as, Monbiot argues for this rewilding process not taking place on the account of human settlements but designated for humans and animals to live alongside each other. ( http://ed.ted.com/lessons/from-the-top-of-the-food-chain-down-rewilding-our-world-george-monbiot , http://www.ted.com/speakers/george_monbiot )
Further exploration into local country use of the term rewilding also showed limited local results / mentions of the term rewilding whereas local organizations and web pages used alternative local narratives related to conservation, natural restoration and nature administration. Translating the concept of rewilding to the local terminologies, these were added to the google trend graph representing interest in number of queries over time generating additional questions for further research.
Red = DK / Yellow = China / Green = germany / purple = NL
Note: The peak in 2007 is unrelated to the interest in the concept as rewilding:
Research strategy: Employ Google to show the most prominent types of rewilding subjects that are recognized or referred to per country/language. Make use of language skills in the groupMethod: Query the term rewilding in the local languages in the local Google versions, e.g., natuurherstel in Google.nl and renaturierung in Google.de. Manually, read the results and make lists of the top ten distinctive national subjects of rewilding, leaving them in the order that Google provided. Note the local Google versions were chosen on the basis of the language skills of the participants of the Digital Methods Summer School, 2014. Note too that when faced with a large quantity of Google versions for a single language, a further selection was made, e.g., the top three Spanish-speaking countries according to population. For those local Google versions where multiple languages are spoken, the two dominant languages were queried. In certain cases we queried multiple languages in the same Google, i.e., Belgium (Flemish and French), Canada (English and French) and the United States (English and Spanish).
For those languages that do not have a straightforward translation of the word rewilding, we used longer queries, i.e. we queried the Danish Google for rewilding OR naturforvaltningLocal Google version, query, query date: Google.nl with query: natuurherstel (25.06.14)
Google.be with query: natuurherstel (25.06.14)
Google.be with query: rénaturation (25.06.14)
Google.fr with query: rénaturation (25.06.14)
Google.com.hk with query: 野化 (25.06.14)
Google.co.uk with query: rewilding (25.06.14)
Google.com with query: rewilding (26.06.14)
Google.de with query: renaturierung (26.06.14)
Google.ch with query: renaturierung (26.06.14)
Google.it with query: [michele]
Google.dk with query: naturgenopretning OR vild naturforvaltning (26.06.14)
Google.se with query: viltförvaltning OR förvilda (26.06.14)
The top 100 results per query are stored for validation purposes. In Firefox Save Page As -> Web Page, complete. Data sets available below as attachments.
Network view of shared subjects: Yellow depicts local google query sites and blue colour depicts shared subjects.
Countries could be said to have distinctive rewilding subjects, compared to other countries, as read from Google results.
Rewilding is translated into local practices reflected by the different and unique subjects per country
Climate adaptation and nature conservation are themes within local regions, but foci varies according to geographical location, spatiality, scattering of human settlements and native species
For example, most entries located from google.com.hk with the search term 野化 (rewilding) are about animals, especially tigers and pandas. Rewilding here specifically refers to the process of returning captive-born animals to a more wild environment. The media attention received for tiger and panda rewilding is partly due to the controversial nature of both cases. Rewilding the South China Tiger, a rare species of tigers, is a project that has been advanced by the NGO Save Chinas Tigers (http://english.savechinastigers.org/) over the years. The founders (Li Quan) approach to rewilding tigers has been controversial from the beginning. Instead of creating or preserving the native habitat of these tigers (which should be in South China), a laohu (i.e., tiger) valley was established in South Africa instead, to which more than a dozen South China tigers have been sent. Opposing voices arose regarding the motivation of such a move (for the tigers or for the commercial interest of developing tourism in Africa?) and the actual effects of such a rewilding process. Criticism is still abound as some tigers sent to the tiger valley are reported to be dead or missing.
Panda rewilding is mostly talked about as a research project by the Wolong Panda Research Center (NEED TO CHECK THE NAME). The rewilded pandas are monitored by researchers with electronic trackers. The rewilding is situated within the parameters of researchers monitoring and intervention. In news coverage, training and preparing pandas for their return to their natural habitat is described and the importance of such rewilding is communicated to the public. The profile of the panda rewilding issue was boosted by the widely-criticized failure of the first rewilding effort project of the Center, which resulted in the death of a rewilded panda in 2007. Their second wave of rewilding efforts started in 2012 and has attracted media interest and engaged attention from the public. Overall, the discourse of rewilding in China is dominated by the issues of tiger and panda, although other species are also referred to (such as the crested ibis). Rewilding refers to a very specific process of placing the animals in a wilder environment (not even necessarily their native habitat), and there is almost no reference to larger issues of environmental restoration.
Note, too, that given the limited sample of countries and the method for selection, the most greatly shared rights across countries are not the subject of analysis.
Rewilding in Denmark
Diving deeper into how rewilding is translated and enacted locally in Denmark and the related discourses, the lingual terms naturgenopretning and vild naturforvaltning were found through sources mentioning a linkage of the english term with equivalent Danish explanations of the concept (https://www.verdensskove.org/rewilding, https://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturgenopretning) as managerial and landscape approaches of restoring nature or wild nature, imitating the indigenious state of landscape, plants and fauna with the advantages of native species returning and contributing to ecological sustainability.
Query results of these translations also elucidated the stakeholders within nature restauration ranging from governmental, NGOs (nature) and commercial companies (hydrological and landscape consultants). One of the scapes has a strong link to governmental climate adaptation (Climate Adaptation: www.klimatilpasning.dk) with projects related to water management and flooding risks while others are more related to nature conservation, restoration and animal species sustainability (The Danish Society for Nature Conservation: URL http://www.dn.dk/Default.aspx?ID=7308). This may infer that there is a national/governmental interest in this concept and how this interest is enacted within the borders of Denmark through re-landscaping to native ecological patterns using marshes and swamps as water buffers for risks of floods and for restoring natural habitat where laws and regulations become leading actors (actants) in this process.
One of the unique subjects for Denmark was islands which occurred through multiple stakeholders interest involving re-landscaping, re-introducing native species and creating isolated islandhabitats for birdlife in Denmark ( http://www.fuglevaernsfonden.dk/fuglevaernsfonden/nyheder?task=view&m=visning&nyhed_id=47). The bird-islands enactment of rewilding concurs therefore more to David Foremans conceptual approach where isolated spatial locations are dedicated to animal species, plants and faunas to evolve. Simultaneously the subject of island involves the re-introducing of large gracing indigenous species like the European Bison to these land isolated areas to monitor how they contribute to the ecological restoration of nature (http://www.naturbornholm.dk/naturbornholm/bison-paa-bornholm.aspx). It has been archaeologically argued that this species has roamed Denmark over 1500 years ago and therefore play an important role in the quest to return to the indigenous wild nature ecologies. The assessment of this method we may suggest derives from the concept of rewilding in George Monbiots approach, where we through scientific methods re-introduce the indigenous large animals (with the exception of these animals not being predators) even within spatial human inhabited areas. Opposed to rewilding using islands there are also examples of introducing present indigenious species like the red deer that is allowed to roam freely in marshes, swamps and parks close to urbanized areas (http://www.b.dk/danmark/smil-til-hjorten-og-floejt-til-staeren) closing or blurring the spatial gaps of human and animal boundaries.De-wilding in Sweden
Switching to the geolocation of Sweden, our findings are affected by the local translation of rewilding to viltförvaltning containing the semantics of management/administration as well as förvilda with a connotation to forest areas and wildlife. Grounding these findings we should also consider the spatiality of Sweden containing vast areas of forests and nature with wildlife and smaller density of human inhabitants.Subjects of rewilding was intertwined in a discourse of hunting and maintaining the balance of species in the addressing issues of regulating top-of-the-food-chain animal predators and rights to hunt (http://www.sveaskog.se/jakt-fiske-och-friluftsliv/jakt/viltforvaltning/). Managing nature therefore takes a discourse of human intervention (hunting and regulation) in sustaining the ecosystem or the wild as opposed to Monbiot and Foremans approach of leaving nature and animals in a self-regulating ecosystem.
China: Query 野化 (rewilding) in Google.com.hk on 25.06.14
NL: query: natuurherstel (rewilding) in google.nl on 25.06.14
DK: query: naturgenopretning OR vild naturforvaltning (rewilding) in google.dk on 25.06.14
SE: query:viltförvaltning OR förvilda (rewilding) in google.dk on 25.06.14
The data collected included: url, type of adaptation (focus on water and or nature), location, aim, present species, type of land, starting and/or ending date
From the introductory texts on the project pages, we extracted the description of the aim, the geolocation, if available the start or ending date of the project, and the animal species mentioned. Next, the projects (63 in total) were plotted onto a map of the Netherlands
Layers in map:
1. rewilding projects: the first C in the 3 C's of rewilding, Cores. These are all projects concerning rewilding that we found in the expert list. The projects are differentiated by their main focus, namely nature, water or both. They are coloured green (for nature projects), blue (for water projects) and green/blue (for projects concerning both water and nature).
2. ecoducts: the second C, Corridors. These are passages animals can use to cross roads and get to other wildlife areas. The ecoducts are the connections between the cores.
3. animals in projects: the third C, Carnivores. These are the keystone species that were mentioned in the expert list's websites. The species that occur most (birds in particular), are thus mentioned most by the organisations and can be seen as the major focus in the Dutch rewilding projects.Again, it turns out the organisations mention birds particularly. Mammals and fish are major themes as well. Let's zoom in a little more on the rewilding subjects the organisations mention:
In this visualisation, we have categorised the different species' mentions according to the categories in the Red List, which lists the Dutch categories for endangered animal species. The organisations mention a lot of different bird species, as we expected. However, also note the relatively large list of dragonflies and butterflies. One last thing to mention is that the number of fish species is smaller than that of mammals. One might expect differently, as The Netherlands is such a water-rich country.
The rewilding projects offer a fine-grained view on the national rewilding activities and their subjects. In NL, rewilding focuses on landscapes (where it is hard to divide between land/nature and water) as well as animals, of which birds are the most common type of species. Mammals and fish are next in line. Recall, however, the Dutch subjects of rewilding according to the search engine. A comparison:
Subjects of rewilding according to search engine results:plants
Subjects of rewilding according to the websites in the expert list:birds
|natuurlijke dynamiek||natural dynamics|
|natuurlijke materialen||natural materials|
|onderzoeken, ontdekken||explore, discover|
|pad, route||path, pathway, trail|
|Schotse hooglander||Scottisch highland cattle|
|main Dutch stakeholders nature conservation/development|
|Stichting Natuur en Milieu|
|projecten nature development|
|Ecologische Hoofdstructuur (EHS)|
|bouwen met de natuur||building with nature|
|delta, rivierdelta||delta, river delta|
|dijkteruglegging, ontpolderen||dike relocation|
|dijkverbetering, dijkverhoging, dijkversterking||dike improvement|
|(harde/zachte) kustverdediging||(hard/soft) coastal engineering|
|waterbouwkunde, waterbeheer||water management|
|waterkering||storm-surge barrier, flood defence|
|zoet water||fresh water|
|zout water||salt water|
|zeespiegelstijging||sea level rise|
|zoute kwel||saline seepage|
|main Dutch stakeholders water safety|
|projects water safety|
|Ruimte voor de Rivier|
|dijkverbeteringen (verschillende locaties)|