The free for all of trophic rewilding


My Boxing Day cookout in 2014 was on the rocky ledges at the seas edge of North Point, just up from Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Yorkshire Coast. However, I was back in Bastow Wood in 2015, and it is in having to navigate the least annoying route up through Grass Wood to get to Bastow that I usually see that year’s persecution of Grass Wood. The persecution is because of the excessive dedication to the dogma of management that the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is wedded to, and which has in the past garnered the award for STINKING UP A WOODLAND for three years in a row (1,2,3). It gets harder each time to find that route safe from the visual dismay of destruction, but even before this last ordeal a few days ago, I had visited Grass Wood early in June 2015 to document photographically the scale of haphazard felling and vehicle damage that had turned the area around Far Gregory into a scene of industrial devastation. You may think this devastation is a restructuring in the cause of biodiversity, but David Rose, the journalist who had contacted me a few weeks before, was looking for examples of where the demand for woodfuel was driving damaging thinning and felling of British woodlands.

The rush to persecute woodlands

Rose already had Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s ancient woodland of Ryton Wood as an example, covered as it is by felling licenses for deforestation as well as a Woodland Grant Scheme administered by the Forestry Commission. Ann Wilson and Pip Pountney, members of Coventry Tree Group, had been shocked in March 2012 to see dozens of mature oak trees, some 200 and 300 years old, being felled in Ryton Wood and sold on for woodfuel (4). I pointed Rose to the devastation in the National Trust’s ancient woodland at Cwmma Moors where the extraction of woodfuel, ostensibly in the cause of biodiversity, was also being driven by the lure of funding from the Woodland Grant Scheme (2,3). However, the lack of public access and documentation in the public domain made this a difficult example to use. The ancient woodland of Grass Wood was more promising as it is also covered in felling licences, as well as Woodland Improvement Grants under the Woodland Grant Scheme. Rose had found out the name of the contractor removing trees from Grass Wood and spoken to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust about it, hence why I was taking photographs. I had also pointed Rose towards the National Trust’s Bickerton Hill, a typically awful heathland restoration involving wide scale persecution of trees (5) and where a Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed a whacking £200,000 just for “Major preparatory work for heathland re-creation or restoration” in the overall Higher Level Stewardship funding of £338,340 (6,7). The National Trust’s misleading public consultation on the deforestation confirmed the dodgy nature of the Environmental Impact Assessment that was required before felling licences were issued at Bickerton Hill, as was also revealed in an FOI request that I made of the Forestry Commission (8).

Rose’s article appeared in mid-June, focussing on Ryton Wood and Bickerton Hill, and explaining how the Renewable Heat Incentive given to owners of wood burning boilers (9,10) coupled with the forestry and stewardship grants given to the conservation industry, were driving the destruction of woodland habitats and harming diversity, even though the Forestry Commission and the biomass industry’s lobby group, the Woodland Heat Association, insisted this policy is justified on environmental grounds (11). The Warwickshire Wildlife Trust used the tired old excuse of trying to restore traditional coppicing. The inconvenient truth, however, was that it was felling mature oak, as the National Trust had been doing at Cwmma Moor (along with ash) when coppicing is associated with hazel and not oak. Rose used a couple of quotes on the ecological impact from myself and from Clive Hambler, an Oxford ecologist who has a uniquely logical take on the arguments around the winners and losers in ecological restoration (12). Rose was a rare and refreshing example of a journalist unblinded by the dogma of the conservation industry, able to see past the rhetoric, and navigate through the dissonance of allegedly environmental benefit delivering environmental harm. On the basis of what turned up for his article, the award for STINKING UP A WOODLAND for 2015 has to be shared between Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, the National Trust, as well as Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, and all the other persecutors of woodland for woodfuel, although the recent strimming of ferns that I saw alongside an artificial ride created a few years ago in Grass Wood gets the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust a special mention.

This rush to persecute woodlands that are often designated as SSSI is symptomatic of the free for all that characterises conservation thinking in Britain. It is a cycle of self-justifying invention and delusion, a continual bending of reality predicated in this instance on “bringing woodland back into management” (13.14). A few years ago, the fashionable justification for woodland management was for butterflies (15) then it became for woodland birds (16,17,18) and now it’s for woodfuel because, according to the Forestry Commission’s implementation plan for woodfuel, a “large part of this resource is under utilised” through lack of management (19).

Expert opinion with no or minimal sampling

This free for all is also implicit in the never ending quest of the deluded fetishizers of sloppy peat bogs to cling to the notion that it is a natural habitat (20):
“There is evidence to suggest that some areas of blanket bog began to form following clearance of the original forest cover by early man, but the relative significance of this activity and changing climate on the historical and contemporary extent of the resource has yet to be determined”

It must be bit embarrassing to have to admit that sloppy peat is a species poor habitat because of its acidity, but the fetishizers get away with it because a high proportion of what species there are associated with sloppy peat have protection under UK and European legislation (21) a choice that you or I had no part in, and which cemented an unholy alliance with the management of grouse moors and the predation of inconvenient species by gamekeepers (22). This doesn’t mean that our sloppy peat has any international importance, as is often stated, and how could it when it is a highly modified and managed secondary habitat? As it is, that “yet to be determined” aspect is completely missing in most literature that fetishizes sloppy peat, including Natural England’s report on the extent and condition of England’s peatlands that bigs up the nonsense about how much carbon they store (23). This connection with climate change and carbon storage of course gave the conservation industry a new lease of life in their fetishizing of sloppy peat. Isn’t there some dissonance here, that mitigation of a careless human extraction and use of archaeological carbon in coal, oil and gas is predicated on a human created habitat?

Nevertheless, there is an endless quest to prove the natural provenance of sloppy peat in spite of the evidence that peat formation in blanket bogs is underlain by Mesolithic and Neolithic human artefacts, and that the onset of peat development is particularly clustered around 5,000 years ago and thus associated with the onset of significant human intervention (24). Evidence of human deforestation in upland Britain, which led to peat formation, spans not just the Neolithic, when you might expect the exigencies of agriculture made it inevitable, but also in the Mesolithic, a period associated not with agriculturists but hunter gatherers. Two recent studies illustrate this by focussing on areas of early human influence known from the presence of such as Mesolithic flints, one in the Marsden-Saddleworth Moors of the South Pennines, the other in the North York Moors. In the former, evidence was gathered from dated peat cores on fossil pollens that are indicative of vegetative cover, charcoal deposits, and a range of fossil fungal spores indicative of decaying wood or animal dung (25). The results showed periodic phases of open woodland between 7,700 and 6,800 years ago in a predominantly wooded environment, and with inconsistent evidence for animal grazing. After that began a phase of open woodland associated with high charcoal concentrations and indicators of grazing were observed, although it was unclear whether fire or girdling (ring barking) was responsible for initially creating the woodland opening, or if it was part of an opportunistic use of naturally occurring woodland clearings. Taking a similar approach in evidence gathering, the second study compared the palaeoecological signatures of the Late Mesolithic with the early Neolithic on the North York Moors, the two cultures differing in a way that could indicate a step-change between the advanced foragers of the Late Mesolithic and the pioneer agro-pastoralists of the initial Neolithic in terms of not only the impact but also the nature of land-use (26). Compare that hard evidence of human activity in these two papers with the best that the sloppy peat fetishizers can come up with that discounts an anthropogenic origin solely on the unconvincing basis of climate model simulations (27).

Last year, when I was using a digital mapping system of the Natural Vegetation of Europe to identify what the natural vegetation of England could be (28) I was astonished to see that while there were bogs with a greater claim to a natural provenance cross Scandinavia, the Baltic States, Poland, Belarus and Russia that could have a tree cover of Scots Pine (and see Politovsky (22)) there were no bogs shown in the UK that could have this tree cover. It is of course a nonsense to think there is something unique about our artificial bogs that makes them treeless, as a recent lecture by Duncan Halley of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research showed, where he talked about the landscape-scale woodland restoration that occurred in SW Norway, an area climatically comparable in its rainfall and peat coverage to the Scottish Highlands (29). It is the case that we do have bog woodland, as it is a priority feature that we have to protect under the EU Habitats Directive (30). Its principle tree species is Scots Pine, and it is given a very tight definition for its selection, as scattered trees in an open woodland that does not lead to a loss of bog species. Of course, natural colonisation through “invasion” of trees after the hydrology of the peat has been altered is excluded, which is a bit of a circular argument, but is par for the course for sloppy peat fetishizers. Although their growth is attenuated in boggy conditions (slow growth and small size) some of the Scots Pine in these bog woodlands have been estimated at 350 years old. However, don’t expect to see vast swathes of this bog woodland because even though the potential range where you may expect to find this habitat is estimated at 26,375.32 km2, there is thought to be only 12.7 km2 in this range, with 9.47 km2 of that included in protected areas (31). Scotland has by far the largest area of the habitat at 10 km2 (32). The range is an estimate based on “partial data with some extrapolation and/or modelling” while the area covered by the habitat is an estimate based on “expert opinion with no or minimal sampling” (31,32). No wonder the overall assessment of the Conservation Status of bog woodland is “Inadequate” (31) which is unsurprising and, given this admission, probably why it doesn't appear in the potential natural vegetation mapping of Britain (30):
“The habitat type has not previously been well described in the UK, and consequently knowledge of its ecological characteristics is limited”

A high aspiration for natural vegetation

As with the lack of floodplain and riverine woodland that I have identified before (33) and the unrealised potential for estuarine and low lying inland wet woodland and fen woodland (28) a distribution of bog woodland at less than 0.05% of its potential range is a sorry indictment of the continuing modification and destructive management of our landscapes, denying it the natural landscape cover that it should have. Last April, in response to a strategy document from “Rewilding” Britain (RB) on species reintroductions, I had made the point to the advisory group that ecological restoration is not just about the reinstatement of the animal kingdom, but also about the reinstatement of native vegetation to those highly simplified landscapes, and that it begged the question of how the broad church of interest that was associated with RB could be accommodated within a high aspiration for natural vegetation, but without compromising it (34). It was with this in mind that I went to a “rewilding” landscapes group meeting of RB last November and made a plea for the outcome of ecological restoration to be reflected in non-market public goods; that zonation was a way to differentiate areas of differing management approach along the wildland continuum; and most importantly that we needed to see the distinctive natural vegetation that develops in reaction to the varying soils, hydrology and climate, and which has been lost from view in our highly modified landscapes. I had this vision of the range of climatic and edaphic factors that would produce a tree-line woodland at the true extent of its altitudinal range, and of course bog woodland as well. I gave the example of the transition in vegetation that is discernible, even though highly modified, when the underlying geology changes from limestone to sandstone, each with its inherent hydrology. I would hope to see coastal cliff assemblages of vegetation that alter the further inland you go as the forces of coastal exposure recede, and I wanted large scale wetlands where the carr woodlands have their characteristic untidiness and trees fall over from the lack of purchase. I addressed the question in the briefing document on impacts - “Are a few cattle wandering around the wood a problem?” (35) by drawing a schematic of Hawksworth Spring, one of my local ancient woodlands, showing the greater floral diversity in the ungrazed compared to the grazed area (36). This drew a protest that I was adopting a compositional approach to diversity when in fact, as I explained, the fence was representative of the behaviourally mediated effect of predation in modifying the grazing access in the woodland.

Sidestepping responsibility for the consequences of unrestrained, domesticated herbivory

I left the meeting feeling uneasy that there were too many people in the room who saw the less challenging route of herbivore-driven “rewilding” as being more appealing, and who were also quite happy to introduce non-native species, irrespective of whether it made any sense in ecological restoration. I legged it up to the National Gallery and came across a painting by Titian that just seemed to fit so well with how I was feeling about some of the senseless things that had been said. “An Allegory of Prudence” (1550-1565) shows the three ages of man as heads above a triple headed beast – wolf, lion and dog (37). This three-headed creature has been regarded as an embodiment of Time, with the voracious wolf representing the past that devours the memory of all things, the vigorous lion representing the present and the dog representing the future bounding forward (38). There is also a Latin inscription above each man:

Roughly translated it means we learn from the past so that our actions today do not spoil tomorrow. I whacked an email about it around the advisory group the next day suggesting that it should be the maxim of RB, given the discussion there had been on reinstatements and novel ecosystems. How is herbivore-driven “rewilding” a break from the recent past? I further noted that it had become the fashion to declare that there is no original state of nature in any given place, because nature is constantly in flux. This was not aimed at the dynamics of systems, but a criticism of those who advocate a free for all, creating new ecologies wherever the whimsy takes them, and with little to substantiate their choices. It is used it to sidestep any responsibility for the consequences of millennia of unrestrained, domesticated herbivory and the associated persecution of both plants and animals that were an inconvenient threat to that domesticated herbivory, such as the extirpation of wolf, bear, lynx, beaver, wild boar, moose, aurochs, sea eagle, kite, and, golden eagle; range contraction of pine marten, wildcat, otter, weasel, polecat, stoat and mountain hare; deforestation, especially the loss of upland, riparian, bog and wet woodland, and the isolation into refuge of many woodland plant, tree, invertebrate, fungal and moss species; and the drainage of wetland. It was Jean Dorst who identified the tipping point for the extent of human exceptionalism as being the arrival of pastoralism in the Neolithic, a transformation from hunter and berry-gatherer to shepherd and farmer (39). It is that human exceptionalism that drove us into the Anthropocene (40,41,42) and is, in the context of ecological restoration, the immediate priority that we face. It thus seemed to me that RB wasn’t getting any nearer to distinguishing its position from other approaches, the void being so easily filled by tacit acceptance of the herbivore-driven "rewilding" of the new nature developers and their continuance of landscape degradation, rather than reinstatement of natural vegetation. It is a battle of wills amongst those supposedly shaping its future that is actually met with passivity rather than open discussion, although at least one other recognised the absurdity, acutely alluding it to a Tolkienesque outlook on Middle Earth - “herds of wild cattle charging across a European savannah of gnarled oak occasionally accompanied by Saxon warriors on horse-back or is it Tarpan?”

The causality of megafaunal extinctions

It is a free for all that goes wider than just RB, where a spiralling assemblage of allegedly functional replacement species is posited to compensate for the categorical presumption that pre-farming humans were responsible for extinguishing the megafauna. Speculation is poured on speculation when it is advanced that the empty niche space in Europe and Asia after megafauna extinction would have filled up with large animals from Africa, if it had not been for early modern humans preventing them from doing so. The presence of lion and leopard in Europe in the Holocene is held up as proof, even though the scant evidence is clouded by a lack of accurately dated subfossil records in Europe, and the probability of importation of leopards from Asia Minor and of lions for circus games (43). In an unhelpful way, George Monbiot gives credence to this free for all whenever he goes into his well-rehearsed shtick of tickling and tantalising his audience with tales of heffalumps and scary big animals that used to exist in Britain in previous interglacials. We get this in the Canadian TV documentary (34) in which I also participated (more on this later) as well as a recent interview for the UKHillwalking website where he claims that the landscape cover when these big herbivores and scary animals still existed was “punctuated by more open forest, as well as wood pasture and savannah” (44). He thus believes that the more continuous forest of the Holocene is because “large herbivores were driven out of Britain by the ice, then driven to extinction in southern Europe about 30,000 years ago when modern humans arrived”

Monbiot implies that “hyenas and lions…..persisted throughout the ice age, hunting reindeer across the frozen tundra, and it seems that they survived here until about 10,000 years ago, when Mesolithic hunters turned up” (UKH). Well, he’s certainly right that there were reindeer here until 8,300 years ago, but no lions or hyenas (45). There is of course a fallacy inherent in his conjuring of “two completely different baselines in Britain” in terms of vegetation cover, as he seems, like many of these free-for-all speculators - such as the ghastly European megaherbivore mafia (46) - to play down a belief in the influence of predators in modifying herbivore activity, even though he wants to leave open the idea that we really should have lions now in Britain. Isn’t he ever curious about what prevented widespread habitat destruction in the Pleistocene, when the ecosystem sustained many species of large herbivores? Even the European megaherbivore mafia allow that communities of large predators in the Late Pleistocene were more diverse than today, but then they play down their impact by saying they “probably limited the densities or habitat use of large herbivores” (46). Ironically, they reference this “probably” with a study that challenged the general belief that populations of megaherbivores (>800 kg) are largely immune to the effects of predation by showing that juvenile mammoths and mastodons were within predicted prey size ranges of many of the Pleistocene carnivores (47). From that and other fossil evidence, the authors argue that, by limiting population sizes of megaherbivores, large carnivores had a major impact on Pleistocene ecosystems, not least by creating refuges from herbivory for trees and plants, as well as increased scavenging opportunities.

All that’s left now to deal with is this categorical assumption by the free-for-all speculators that the megafaunal extinctions were caused by the arrival of modern humans. While I lay much at the feet of the human species in being the cause of destruction of wild nature since the Neolithic, I have never been much convinced that the small number of hunter gatherers that came before, a people with a primitive technology, were the sole cause of the death and extinction of hundreds of millions of both megaherbivores and megacarnivores, when we would have been prey ourselves for the latter. This is the “controversy space” in to which a very recent paper dives, reviewing the many purported causalities for the extinction (48). The conclusion is that elucidation of the cause(s) is suffering from a “conceptual blockage” because it is clustered around only two major paradigms, of environmental (climactic) versus anthropogenic causes, in a “sometimes, inflexible disputational fashion”, whereas a more inclusive and general theory of extinction should explain both the causes of extinction and of survival, as well as the disparate rates of extinction in biomes, islands and continents.

Impressive, science-related words

I have to tell you that the arch speculators, the European megaherbivore mafia (along with others) have come up with a new name for their free for all, of a spiralling assemblage of allegedly functional replacement species: it is “trophic rewilding”, and which is defined as an “ecological restoration strategy that uses species introductions to restore top-down trophic interactions and associated trophic cascades to promote self-regulating biodiverse ecosystems” (49). Note the adroit use of impressive, science-related words: “trophic”, “ecological”, “interactions”, “cascade”, “ecosystems”. The authors cite the Oostvaardersplassen as an example in their “Lessons From Major Trophic Rewilding Experiments”. Perhaps you should watch “Manufacturing the Wild”, the thoughtful Canadian TV documentary that I took part in, and where the producers saw fit to use my description of the Oostvaardersplassen as an ecological disaster in one of the opening scenes (50). I explain later in the program the ecological illiteracy of trapping an ever breeding population of herbivores behind fencing such that they over reach capacity and starve, or are shot. RB hasn’t started to use this term “trophic rewilding” yet, but I just wonder how it will justify the use of allegedly functional replacement herbivores, inevitably enclosed by fencing, as an allowable management approach in projects that the charity will endorse, nor how if it will even monitor the intended stricture on that herbivory so that it allows natural succession:
“Grazing and browsing is by herbivores which are either native (eg deer) or hardy proxies for native species (e.g. Exmoor ponies, hardy cattle, wild goats). Grazing density is at a level that allows natural succession to occur”

It is of course a nonsense that will allow a free for all in what is regarded as “rewilding”, but then I’ve known that for a number of years (51). Reluctant as I have been to fully enunciate my concerns about the direction of RB, I now feel I want to echo the sentiment of Stephen Barlow, an occasional correspondent of mine, an exceptional wildlife photographer, and a prolific and immensely thoughtful commenter on matters of wild nature in the Guardian, including holding Monbiot to account when he considers he has played fast and loose with the facts (52,53). Stephen, in railing against an arrogant delusion that humans are now in charge of the natural world, made this commitment (54):
“From now on I will no longer be civil towards those that justify this insane suicidal course they have navigated us on. I will say it like it is, and dismiss them for the fools they are”

Mark Fisher 5 January 2016

(1) Contemplation of natural scenes, Self-willed land January 2012

(2) Wild trees and natural woods, Self-willed land April 2013

(3) Woodland memories from childhood, Self-willed land May 2014

(4) Appearing near you: Forest Stump - a Follywood production, Ann Wilson & Pip Pountney of the Coventry Tree Group!views-6/c1w92

(5) Bickerton Hill, Heathland MADNESS - the juggernaut of nature conservation, Self-willed land (Last updated 14 October 2014)

(6) PART 4 Capital works plan and payments

(7) ecological impact assessment statement and GRANT AWARDED, Robin Blackham,  Freedom of Information request to Natural England 23 March 2015

(8) Felling licence at Bickerton Hill - Licence Reference 010/131/13-14, Mark Fisher, Freedom of Information request to Forestry Commission 3 April 2015

(9) Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, ofgem

(10) Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, ofgem

(11) Where HAVE all our woods gone? Up in smoke - as the new trendy 'green' wood-burning stoves and boilers (funded by tax millions) are being fuelled by birches and oaks... leaving swathes of Britain barren, David Rose, Mail on Sunday 13 June 2015

(12) Hambler, C. (2015) Evidence-based or evidence-blind? Priorities for revitalising conservation. ECOS 36(3/4): 22-25

(13) Plantlife (2011) Forestry Recommissioned: Bringing England’s woodlands back to life. Plantlife: Salisbury

(14) Government Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement. Incorporating the Government's Response to the Independent Panel on Forestry's Final Report, DEFRA/Forestry Commission 2013

(15) Help save vanishing creatures, Salisbury Journal, 20 March 2008, Ssenredliw, Self-willed land

(16) Woodland management for birds, Forestry Commission England

(17) Details of Grant Applications from Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Neil Fitzmauraice, FOI Request to the Forestry Commission 4 February 2011

(18) Glades and Mini Glades, Blacka Moor 6 April 2011

(19) Woodfuel Implementation Plan 2011 - 2014, Forestry Commission England 2011$FILE/FCE_WIP_Web.pdf

(20) Blanket Bog, UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Habitat Descriptions 2008, JNCC

(21) Littlewood, N., Anderson, P., Artz, R., Bragg, O., Lunt, P. and Marrs, R. (2010) Peatland Biodiversity , Scientific Review, IUCN UK Peatland Programme,%20June%202011%20Final.pdf

(22) Natural England drops peatland bog-burning inquiry, Christine Ottery, Guardian 14 March 2012, Ssenredliw, Self-willed land

(23) England's peatlands: carbon storage and greenhouse gases (NE257), Natural England 2009

(24) Moore, P.D (1975) Origin of blanket mires. Nature 256: 267-269

(25) Ryan, P.A. and Blackford, J.J., 2010. Late Mesolithic environmental change at Black Heath, south Pennines, UK: a test of Mesolithic woodland management models using pollen, charcoal and non-pollen palynomorph data. Vegetation history and archaeobotany, 19(5-6), pp.545-558.

(26) Innes, J.B., Blackford, J.J. and Rowley-Conwy, P.A., 2013. Late Mesolithic and early Neolithic forest disturbance: a high resolution palaeoecological test of human impact hypotheses. Quaternary Science Reviews, 77, pp.80-100

(27) Gallego-Sala AV, Charman DJ, Harrison SP, Li G, Prentice IC (2015). Climate-driven expansion of blanket bogs in Britain during the Holocene. Clim. Past Discuss., 11: 4811-4832

(28) The natural vegetation of England, Self-willed land August 2014

Nurturing Nature - Comparing land quality and land use in South West Norway and Scotland, Duncan (29) Halley, Nordic Horizons, Democracy TV 1 December 2015

(30) 91D0 Bog woodland, Habitat account –Forests, Special Areas of Conservation, Joint Nature Conservation Committee

(31) Third Report by the United Kingdom under Article 17 on the implementation of the Directive from January 2007 to December 2012 Conservation status assessment for Habitat: H91D0 - Bog woodland

(32) Conservation status assessment for Habitat:H91D0 - Bog woodland. Scotland. Supporting documentation for the Third Report by the United Kingdom under Article 17 on the implementation of the Directive from January 2007 to December 2012

(33) Flooding and cherry picking, Self-willed land February 2014

(34) A challenge to Rewilding Britain, Self-willed land August 2015

(35) Bison habitat preference becomes a pawn in the disputed natural vegetation cover of Europe, Self-willed land November 2015

(36) The craze for conservation grazing, Self-willed land May 2009

(37) An Allegory of Prudence, Titain, The National Gallery, London

(38) McCouat, P. (2013) "Titian, Prudence and the three-headed beast", Journal of Art in Society

(39) When nature dies - the impact of the human species, Self-willed land July 2015

(40) Crutzen, P. J. & Stoermer, E. F. (2000) The “Anthropocene”. IGBP Newsletter (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm) 41: 17-18

(41) Steffen, W., Crutzen, P.J. and McNeill, J.R., 2007. The Anthropocene: are humans now overwhelming the great forces of nature. AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment, 36(8), pp.614-621.

(42) Lewis, S.L. and Maslin, M.A., 2015. Defining the anthropocene. Nature, 519(7542), pp.171-180

(43) Sommer, R.S. and Benecke, N., 2006. Late Pleistocene and Holocene development of the felid fauna (Felidae) of Europe: a review. Journal of Zoology, 269: 7-19

(44) INTERVIEW: George Monbiot Talks to UKH on Re-Wilding Britain, Dan Bailey, UKHillwalking 11 December 2015

(45) Montgomery, W. I., Provan, J., McCabe, A. M., & Yalden, D. W. (2014). Origin of British and Irish mammals: disparate post-glacial colonisation and species introductions. Quaternary Science Reviews, 98, 144-165,455424,en.pdf

(46) Bakker, E.S., Gill, J.L., Johnson, C.N., Vera, F.W., Sandom, C.J., Asner, G.P. and Svenning, J.C. (2015) Combining paleo-data and modern exclosure experiments to assess the impact of megafauna extinctions on woody vegetation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1502545112

(47) Van Valkenburgh B, Hayward MW, Ripple WJ, Meloro C, Roth VL (2015) The impact of large terrestrial carnivores on Pleistocene ecosystems. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 10.1073/pnas.1502554112

(48) Monjeau, J.A., Araujo, B., Abramson, G., Kuperman, M.N., Laguna, M.F. and Lanata, J.L. (2015) The controversy space on Quaternary megafaunal extinctions, Quaternary International, In press doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2015.10.022

(49) Svenning, J.C., Pedersen, P.B., Donlan, C.J., Ejrnæs, R., Faurby, S., Galetti, M., Hansen, D.M., Sandel, B., Sandom, C.J., Terborgh, J.W. and Vera, F.W. (2015) Science for a wilder Anthropocene: Synthesis and future directions for trophic rewilding research. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 10.1073/pnas.1502556112

(50) Manufacturing the Wild, The Nature of Things, Thursday, November 26, 2015 at 8 PM on CBC-TV

(51) What is rewilding? Self-willed land September 2013

(52) Comments by STeB1, I’ve eaten roadkill badger and squirrel, but dolphin? No thanks, George Monbiot, Guardian 9 December 2015

(53) Comment by STeB1 16 December, We’ve almost stopped killing each other. Now let’s spare the planet, George Monbiot, Guardian 15 December 2015

(54) Comment by SteB1, Decline in over three-quarters of UK butterfly species is 'final warning', says Chris Packham, Patrick Barkham. Guardian 15 December 2015