Trophic occupancy and the rehabilitation of the meaning of rewilding


A sense of panic rippled through the free-for-all trophic “rewilders” (1) in February when the publication of a paper criticising “rewilding”, its lack of quantitative evidence on achievements, and how it was disproportionately sucking up funding (2) attracted a flurry of attention in scientific and other media (3-8) leading to frantic calls for a rebuttal amongst the aggrieved members of the free-for-all community. The invocation to regard “rewilding” as inherently harmful was in the title of the paper itself when it invoked the unleashing of evil from the mythological Pandora’s box as being its likely effect on nature conservation (2). When it was assumed I would become a party to this rebuttal, I could only but observe that I had no interest in defending the word “rewilding” (9) that there were other ways to counter the assumption of the authors that orthodox nature conservation was delivering and which the paper’s authors claimed was put at threat from “rewilding”. I noted that considering the authors had picked up on the shambles of the free for all that is “rewilding” now, then it required a response that did not fall into a trap of propagating that free for all, but which instead had a solid ecological underpinning. As you may imagine, it was the creativity of the free-for-all trophic “rewilders” and its alleged innovation that was instead pressed for inclusion in the rebuttal as offering hope for the future of European nature.

You can react to this in many ways. Why is it that the free-for-all community took it to be an attack on their predilections? The authors of the Pandora paper had identified four different strands to restoration ecology arising from evolving approaches to “rewilding”, from its early origins in the cores-corridors-carnivores approach of Soulé and Noss (10) through Pleistocene “rewilding”, Passive “rewilding” to Translocation ”rewilding”, the latter two while not openly skewering the free-for-all community, certainly pointing in its direction. Why did I wryly assume it was an attack on the free-for-all community? Well, instinct at first, especially when the paper namechecked “Rewilding” Europe, but then finding myself in common cause with the authors when in their exploration of what “rewilding” has come to mean, they noted the “confusion and contradictory views” (2):
“Our view is that practitioners, proponents and journalists too often play too loose with rewilding terminology. We advocate reaching a consensus among definitions within the panchreston of rewilding to define what rewilding is and what it is not in order to promote a clearer account of rewilding’s conservation aims, benefits, and potential consequences”

Bison and the gawp factor

Perhaps it was also the observations in the paper about the untested consequences of introduction of bison in 2012 to a two-metre high steel fenced enclosure of 200ha on the Danish island of Bornholm in the western end of the Baltic Sea (11). This island is some 150km away from the nearest landfall for Denmark (it is nearer to Sweden) which may give you some idea of how cautious Naturstyrelsen, the Danish Nature Agency, had been to isolate the bison from infiltrating the wider Danish landscape. Contrast this with the “semi-wild” bison in the Rothaargebirge region of Germany that had been released in 2013 into a private woodland estate, but unsurprisingly had wandered unrestrained into other private woodland, causing extensive beech bark stripping (see the photograph in (12)) and a number of court cases to establish that the bison were not abandoned/ownerless (”herrenlos”) so that there could be demands for compensation for loss of earnings and a bar enforced on their free movement (13-15). I would be puzzled at what appears to be a backdoor attempt to create free-living bison in Germany if I had not heard Peter Finck of the Bundesamtes für Naturschutz (BfN - the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation) shrug off this potential for dispersal when he was asked about it during an informal conversation at the World Wilderness Congress in 2013. Peter is a well-known herbivore grazing advocate (16,17) who had been instrumental in securing Federal funding for the bison under its Testing and Development Projects (18,19) but what is happening appears to be in breach of the Position Paper on bison of the BfN that supported a program of scientific observation in a spatially limited or restricted area (“räumlich begrenzter” – see (20)).

This issue of containment of the bison on Bornholm was not what the Pandora paper’s authors were concerned with, but it was about containment of the parasites that they may have carried with them from their origin in the Białowieża Forest of Poland. The death of three of the bison in 2015, one at least due to liver parasites (5) was suggested could have been avoided if the bison had been checked and dewormed before being released. Naturstyrelsen shrugged off the deaths as being normal (21,22) even though the bison had been tested to have a varied parasite load (5,23). This was described by the Pandora papers authors as a “rich worm fauna”, and which had the potential to have been transferred to other wild animals, since the fence enclosing the bison was designed to allow the forest's game and small animals to pass in and out (11). That the Pandora authors were unimpressed with this Translocational “rewilding” is evidenced by their recognition of its gawp factor, when what was needed, they considered, was much more research on the consequences of these translocations, from the lack so far observed, such that the translocations would be grounded in detailed ecological theory, and which offered “clear conservation benefits to all of biodiversity and not just the opportunity to see large, wild beasts roaming the landscape” (2)

The gawp factor, and which I have previously noted myself about the open air zoos of the “rewilders” (9) was picked up again by one of the Danish authors of the Pandora paper in an interview for a Danish newspaper article where under a sub-heading of “Tivoli [amusement park] or Biological Diversity”, Carsten Rahbek is reported to be concerned that the immediate spectacle created by the deliberate release of wild animals “becomes a goal in itself” (5) and that it risked undermining projects “with less sensational actions” but which were scientifically based (7). Interviewed for the same article, Danish researcher Jens-Christian Svenning, an arch member of the European megaherbivore mafia and one of the architects of the free for all of trophic “rewilding” (24,25) admitted that there were too few scientific studies, but sought to downplay the risks of Translocation “rewilding” – “We have lots of experience with reintroductions (eg, bison, deer and wild horses around Europe)”(5). It will be remembered that Svenning would like to see elephants bashing through Danish forests (7,26,27).

“Rewilding” is more luck than judgement

It was also no surprise to see a reaction to the Pandora paper in the Dutch press from Frans Schepers, Managing Director of “Rewilding” Europe. This is the organisation that claims it was unaware of the American origins of the term rewilding” when it allegedly ‘invented’ the term ‘rewilding’ in 2010 (28). This laughably could be true, but is more likely a cover for their theft of the name of “Rewilding” Europe from the funding proposal of another organisation when they changed to that from their more apt name of the Wild Europe Field Programme (9). You might think that Schepers is pronounced sheepers given his organisations predilection for wanting to turn as much plant biomass in Europe as possible into excrement (9). However, he is more accurately described as an anthropreneur in his drive to ensure that the cultural domination of land use, the anthropogenic systems associated with the Anthropocene, is maintained so that there is money to be made out of it. His is the herbivore driven “rewilding” that the Pandora authors knew all about, and which they pinned by referring to the self-serving theories of Frans Vera (2):
“In much of Europe, at the turn of the century, rewilding quickly turned its focus to ‘naturalized grazing’ (rewilding without predators) as a means to preserve and develop particular kinds of landscapes, where grazing was perceived as a natural process that had been lost”

Schepers said the paper was a “one-sided presentation” (6). He banged on about “rewilding” being about allowing natural processes, but then averred that it was not always about reintroduction of animals. Really? He cited the return of plant and animal species after restoration of a river and its floodplain in the Netherlands, but where beaver had been reinstated. If he was talking about the Millingerwaard nature reserve, then he was being his usual slippery self since it was not only beaver that had been introduced, because his organisation’s website lists also the introduction of year round grazing by Konik horses and Galloway cattle (29). It was the wrong example of a restoration type for Schepers to advance to support his argument, since the project that “Rewilding” Europe inherited from ARK Nature (another Dutch graze-it-all Foundation - (9)) to restore the “natural river” in the Dviete valley in Latvia had also introduced Konik horses and “rewilded”, cross-bred cattle (30).

I guess these projects, like most of “Rewiding” Europe’s projects, could be characterised as the Passive “rewilding” of the Pandora paper, which the authors explained as the “co-existence of natural and anthropogenic systems with minimum intervention” achieved through “setting domesticated animals free as various breeds of cows and horses” (2) the latter assertion particularly typifying those projects. The former assertion is of course pretty much the default situation for most of wild nature, to be in an enforced co-existence with anthropogenic systems, but I question the assertion of minimum intervention in this definition, often alleged by “Rewilding” Europe (31) because you have to ask who intervened to put the domesticated herbivores there, and wont it be an intervention if the numbers of these domesticated animals have to be regulated like the Heck cattle and Konik horses are at the Oostvaardersplassen in the Netherlands (24)? “Rewilding” Europe has also very recently indulged in a bit of Translocational “rewilding” in the Netherlands through the introduction of bison to the Maashorst nature reserve, and which inevitably is already grazed by Exmoor ponies and the plastic aurochs of the Tauros program (32). I guess this is “Rewiding” Europe fulfilling its Bison “Rewilding” Program, interpreting the European bison range for its own ends, and catching up with the Kraansvlak in the Netherlands that already has bison along with the inevitable Konik horses (33).

When it was put to Schepers that the paper indicated that “rewilding” is more luck than judgement, his fudge was that “We cannot predict anything”, that he couldn’t wait for studies to be carried out, that what they do is just “exploit the spontaneity and resilience of nature", and that they “learn by doing” (6). It is worth remembering that Staffan Widstrand (also known as wideboy –see why in (9)) one of the four founding members of “Rewilding” Europe, but now its advisor on Marketing and Communication (34) has also shown that impatience, disdaining the “red tape” of nature regulations and the need for an underpinning of their actions by science, such that to Widstrand science is not the goal - “Our task is to make Europe a wilder place. Our task is not numbers and spreadsheets and Ph.D’s” (35). Scarily, a recommendation is made in a whitewashing evaluation of "Rewidling" Europe that those regulations be made more flexible, particularly in the "wild status of newly introduced ‘wild’ herbivores" (28,33). Bad idea, especially when it comes to plastic aurochs (see 33). It is no wonder, therefore, that Dustin Rubenstein, an ecologist at Columbia University, was critical of Widstrand's attitude when he said “We don’t see any scientific papers coming out of any of these projects” (35).

“Rewilding” in shiny new clothing

Rubinstein has also taken a bash at the paper from the free-for-all community that kicked off their “new ecological restoration approach” of “trophic rewilding” (25). He asserted that it was just a repackaging of the sensationalism of Pleistocene “rewilding” in “shiny new clothing” to make it more palatable by use of the word trophic (36). I also noted the adroit use of that word by the free for all community, but I judged that the example they gave for it in action, of the Oostvaardersplassen, did not match their rhetoric (1). Rubinstein correctly identified the more common usage of the word in describing the events initiated by a top predator through a “trophic cascade, contrasting the lack of quantitative data concerning the impacts of megafauna reintroductions with the many scientific studies on trophic cascades over the last decade (36):
“We cannot afford to co-opt good science (research on trophic cascades) to justify bad science (Pleistocene rewilding) at a time when species are in peril”

You can judge for yourself whether the response from the free-for-all community, led by Svenning, adequately rebutted the criticisms of Rubenstein (see (37)) but I am not in any way impressed by their argument that “Practitioners are increasingly implementing rewilding (e.g., Rewilding Europe)”, that they also referenced the nonsense proposals of Jepson for “rewilding” (24) nor their assertion that “trophic rewilding” is a different concept to Pleistocene “rewilding” when Svenning wants to see elephants bashing through Danish forests (see above).

It just seems at the moment that criticism of “rewilding” is falling like autumn leaves out of the trees! The “trophic rewilding” paper was part of a Special Feature section of a journal that consisted of a series of reports from a conference entitled Megafauna and Ecosystem Function: From the Pleistocene to the Anthropocene, held at Oxford in March 2014 (38). As a companion to that section, science writer John Carey wrote a Core Concept article about “Rewilding” (39). Carey noted that Europe had embraced “rewilding” in a way that America had not; he namechecked “Rewilding” Europe, but then opined that few of the efforts at “rewilding” had led to “new science on ecosystem function”, and in particular that “experiments with big grazers in The Netherlands….have been short of science, other than showing that big animals do indeed reduce the number of trees”. Well, this is certainly the case in the Oostvaardersplassen (24); it is also shown by the extensive debarking of trees by bison in the Rothaargebirge (see above); and was boasted about in the management of scrub encroachment of grassland through the impact of bison in the Kransvlaak, Netherlands – “Over the past 5 years, the bison in the Dutch pilot project reduced woody plant cover through heavy debarking and resulting killing of trees during the winter period” (33)

While he did not refer to it in relation to this tree persecution, Carey could also have pointed to the bizarre paper in the Special Feature section that turned the logic of grazing exclusion on its head. In yet another desk study that presents no new evidence, but plenty of conjecture, and which is typical of the incessant disinformation put about by herbivore obsessives, the tree growth protected against herbivores either by fencing exclosure or inaccessibility in a range of contemporary examples is given as evidence of the “strong impacts of large herbivore assemblages on woody plants” (40). The implication is that the extinction of the megaherbivores that roamed the earth during the Pleistocene can explain changes in vegetation structure and fire regimes resulting from the shrubs and trees that became more abundant, except that the evidence given by the authors is thin on the ground, is conjecture in itself, not necessarily supported by the references given, or has not been universally observed (see Table 1 in (39)). However, the self-importance of their conjecture is made very clear (40):
“The ecological consequences of the end-Pleistocene extinctions are therefore relevant not only to understanding the vegetation changes of the early Holocene, but also to the management of ecosystems in the Anthropocene”

The latter assertion reeks of the “trophic rewilders”. As I pointed out when I first mentioned this paper (1) the authors make an assumption about the causality of megaherbivore extinction, but more importantly they play down the impact of predators on this Pleistocene herbivory, and predation forms no part of their perspectives in the paper for Future Research or Conclusions. What you will divine from their aspiration for “longterm and large-scale experiments… determine large herbivore impact on woody plants” is that you can expect more bison, and maybe elephants as well, being dumped in sub-optimal habitat. If the authors had any interest in putting their conjecture in the context of “new science on ecosystem function” (see above) then they would at least have had to allow more strongly that the tree growth from fencing exclosure or inaccessibility that they drew their conclusions from is a proxy for the effect of predators in a trophic cascade (41). Instead, it became part of the sweeping generalisations often used by these propagandists, and which are often naïvely self-serving and infinitely obvious, especially since Vera was one of the authors (40). It is with Vera in mind that I can recount yet another experimental study on the negative effect of herbivores in the Oostvaardersplassen (24) this one on its plant communities and various invertebrate taxa (42). In a three-year multifactorial study based on matched grazed and ungrazed areas, the combined species richness of invertebrate taxa was greatest on the inside edge of the exclosures compared to the open, grazed controls, and which the authors assumed would be beneficial to higher trophic levels such as birds and other vertebrates (42). The authors conclude that the use of fencing or the existence of natural grazing refuges, such as physical inaccessibility caused by a tangle of deadwood, or isolation by surrounding water, can contribute significantly to plant and animal diversity in grazed ecosystems, particularly when herbivore densities are high as they are in the Oostvaardersplassen.

Disturbance dependent habitats and the bean counting of diversity

While I am happy to have the nonsense of the herbivore driven landscape at the Oostvaardersplassen punctured yet again, I am never comfortable with the bean counting of diversity. Thus for instance, diversity decreased towards the centre of the exclosures in that study. As the authors indicated, it probably reflected the lower light levels from the much greater height of the vegetation there compared to the exclosure edge and the open grazed areas (42) but then I would suggest that different species would be expected to be present at the lower light levels in the longer term and which they were not counting. This is the issue of the link between bean counting diversity and disturbance-dependent habitats, and which much of our orthodox nature conservation is founded on (43,44). It is illustrative that in a recent report on the state of nature in the EU, based on the status and trends of the species and habitats covered by the two EU nature directives, both abandonment and natural processes (!) are given as threats, and thus leading to losses in artificially created, disturbance-dependent, open habitats such as heathland (45,46). More specifically for these two threats, it is explained that it is the abandonment of pastoral systems and the consequent lack of grazing, as well as from the natural process of vegetation succession, or biocenotic evolution, where there is species composition change and succession, the latter presumably associated with woodland development and reducing light levels.

This is where the authors of the Pandora paper went astray, because disturbance dependence goes to the heart of what Passive, Translocation and trophic “rewilding” are really concerned with. If you think about it, they are just a substitute farming pressure applied through the use of herbivores to maintain disturbance-dependent habitats that are being denuded or are devoid of trees, and are thus entirely suited to orthodox nature conservation, rather than a threat to it! Confusion centres on the description of this herbivore pressure by that triumvirate of “rewilders” as a natural process, the implication being that it is a natural disturbance, when it is actually being applied through domesticated species, and even when it is applied with a wild animal such as bison, although often in combination with domesticated species (see above) there is no influence from predation in either case (except by feral dogs on bison translocated to the Southern Carpathians (47)) and so how can it be called a natural disturbance? Tony Whitbread, Chief Executive of Sussex Wildlife Trust, and the conservation industry’s leading ideological bruiser (48) is also critical of “rewilding” and his criticism is framed in the context of natural disturbance (49):
“Any rewilding suggestions that do not consider the role of natural disturbance should not be considered rewilding at all – merely the construction of another human artefact”

Whitbread bangs on about natural disturbance, averring that it is a “main driving force within nature” and oft repeating that the storm that swept across southern England in 1987, and which blew so many trees down, “gave us a clue on the beneficial role of natural disturbance” (49). For those of us who do not have his intellectual reach, he gives us this explanation about natural processes (50):
“To simplify (probably over-simplify) you could think of them as working in two directions. Succession going in one direction, heading towards some form of conceptual ‘climax’ forest; natural disturbance going in the opposite direction, effectively turning the clock back on succession”

It is that destruction of trees that tells you that Whitbread is not being critical of the triumvirate of “rewilders”. Instead, he’s being critical of those “rewilders” who he thinks believe that the natural landscape cover of Britain would have been “dense forest” (49,50) or “wall to wall woodland” (48) and when he is challenged that this attack is on “just some fantasy of what rewilding means” he replies with this (50):
“There is a strong and growing view out there that rewilding is all about creating dense forest – the old idea of succession towards climax forest. It is also a view that is being strongly promoted in the social media, in the press and on TV”

As with the triumvirate of “rewilders”, Whitbread believes that the natural landscape should be substantially tree-less and open, trotting out in justification the hackneyed excuse, used as well by the triumvirate, that “about 50% of our plants and animals need open habitat” (49) as if a linear quantitative relationship could be inferred between the proportions for each habitat selection of the overall species composition and the natural state of vegetative cover (9). Whitbread, with all his rhetoric about natural processes and natural disturbance, still reserves to himself the right to determine what is missing so that he can “mimic natural processes through conservation management” (50). He should be more honest and describe it as disturbance management – and which of course is not a natural disturbance - when the evidence is that he is happy to ape the antics of the Passive “rewilders” by grazing Friston forest with long-horn cattle and Konik horses (51). You just feel that if it is not Whitbread, then there is someone else who wants to go the whole hog of the Translocation “rewilders” and dump bison into the British landscape, even though there is no evidence of their presence here in the Holocene (33). Perhaps they will feel they have got the greenlight for this from Chris Packham, the recent celebrity convert to “rewilding”, one of whose series of promotional/informational videos for “Rewilding“ Britain sees a future of bison in our woodland, “knocking down trees, creating clearings” (52). I wonder what message is given for Packham’s commitment to his new cause, surely a scene-flipping strategic realignment for him considering his previous engagement with the mainstream conservation industry, that the organisers of a conference on the future of the wild in Europe for young university researchers (53) couldn’t meet his price to be a keynote speaker, even though being an EU funded project means they have deep pockets (54).

The whole system of trophic occupancy

You may now also be confused about what “rewilding” means, or if it should really have all of the meanings above? I was struck that the authors of the Pandora paper had hidden away in parentheses a most insightful reflection on what caused the slippage in meaning from the original cores-corridors-carnivores approach: it was “rewilding without predators” and which they attributed to the trend in adoption of naturalistic grazing (see above). You can blame this on Frans Vera’s obsession with herbivores, and the subsequent appropriation of “rewilding” by adherents to his nonsense theories on natural landscapes, and their propensity for “rewilding without predators” (24,46). It is always going to be difficult in the predator impoverished, cultural landscapes of Europe to reinstate the trophic occupancy needed to approach a truly natural system (55) and just throwing in herbivores into an already culturally modified landscape is as bankrupt of ideas, as it is of ecological literacy (1). Furthermore, it is a wilful disregard of the lessons that can be learnt from those in a better position to have understood the need for trophic occupancy.

It was to this whole system of trophic occupancy that Soulé and Noss pointed to in their exposition of a cores-corridors-carnivores approach by referencing a paper from the early 1930s by ecologist Victor Shelford (10). Shelford had been a founder of the Ecological Society of America in 1914, and it was his Chairing of its Committee for the Study of Plant and Animal Communities by which a plan was agreed by the Society in 1932 for the preservation of natural biotic communities through the identification of complete Nature Sanctuaries, and for these to be the basis of scientific observation of the unmodified assemblages of their biotic communities (56). The best of the sanctuaries would be large, substantially unmodified landscapes of “original vegetation, containing all the animal species historically known to have occurred in the area” and where the fluctuations in biotic communities are “allowed free play”. The plan gave emphasis to the areas qualifying as plant ecological reserves, and for the need for the presence of carnivores in these sanctuaries, of wolf, mountain lion, bob-cat and coyote, the large size of the sanctuary being determined by the home ranges of these species, but also of the migratory herbivores. In consideration of the latter, it was noted that the sanctuary areas should not be fenced against any of the larger native animals as “their presence is necessary to make the conditions natural as regards vegetation, etc.” That there had to be trophic occupancy in these sanctuaries, a matching of carnivore with herbivore, is shown by the conclusion that none could be established in eastern North America due to the absence of wolf and wapiti (the N. American elk or large deer) and that only a few of the National Parks in America and Canada at that time met the range of criteria.

I am aware that in being critical of “rewilding” that does not include reinstatement of trophic occupancy, the "rewilding without predators", that I have an obligation to offer solutions. It could be considered that in exploring both wolf and lynx reinstatement (57-60) and their contribution to restoration of natural processes (61-63) as well as the preservation and range expansion of wildcat and pine marten (48,63,64) that I have provided some basis for that, as I have done for the reinstatement of a native vegetation cover that has its natural range of variation (1,48,63,65). We may yet see the complete Nature Sanctuaries that Shelford described for North America if wider notice were taken of those explorations, but as I have previously admitted, I must take some of the blame for the disastrous erosion of the meaning of ”rewilding” and the consequences it has for wild nature through having missed an opportunity back in 2009 to offer a perspective on it for the Making Space for Nature report (24).

I wasn’t going to miss that opportunity again. As part of its horizon-scanning to anticipate issues of science and technology that are likely to impact on policy, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology recently flagged up “Ecological rewilding” as a topic in its planned work for producing one of its POSTnote briefings (66). In advance of work starting on the topic, I submitted some notes as a perspective on “ecological rewilding” (67). These explain that it is about a need for a reinstatement of fundamental ecological processes; how it is initiated; how species are identified to restore natural vegetation; what the aim of ecological restoration is, its timescales and extent; and how the gains from ecological restoration are protected. Perhaps there is a chance to rehabilitate the meaning of “rewilding”, but it will need many more who are resistant to the stink of ordure of the free-for-all “rewilders” creeping across Europe, and who strongly and widely advocate trophic occupancy through the ecological restoration of complete biotic communities.

Mark Fisher 5 April 2016

(1) The free for all of trophic rewilding, Self-willed land January 2016

(2) Nogues-Bravo, D., Simberloff, D., Rahbek, C. and Sanders N.J. (2016) Rewilding is the new Pandora’s box in conservation. Current Biology 26: 87-91

(3) Experts urge extreme caution on 'rewilding' to save wild places. ScienceDaily 8 February 2016

(4) Los científicos cuestionan las nuevas formas de ‘asilvestrar’ el medioambiente, SINC: la ciencia es noticia 8 February 2016

(5) Udsætning af vilde dyr kan medføre negative konsekvenser, Martin Kunzendorf, DR Dk 9 February 2016

(6) Pas op met herscheppen oernatuur, Joep Engels, Trouw De Verdieping 9 February 2016

(7) Er bævere, bisoner og elefanter i Danmark noget hø?Rasmus Kragh Jakobsen, 10 February 2016

(8) Ikke så enkelt å gjenskape vill natur, Arnfinn Christensen, 13 February 2016

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

(10) Soulé, M. and Noss, R. (1998) Rewilding and biodiversity: complementary goals for continental conservation. Wild Earth 8(3): 18-28

(11) Bison Bornholm, Naturstyrelsen

(12) Endangered freedom for wild European bison in Germany, Irene Banos Ruiz, DW 3 March 2016

(13) "Betretungsverbot" für Wildrinder ausgesprochen, W. Martin, 2 September 2014

(14) Wisente doch (noch) nicht “herrenlos”, W. Martin, 6 October 2014

(15) Aus der Traum? 19 October 2015

(16) Finck, P., Riecken, U., & Schröder, E. (2002). Pasture Landscapes and Nature Conservation—New strategies for the preservation of open landscapes in Europe. In Pasture landscapes and nature conservation (pp. 1-13). Springer Berlin Heidelberg

(17) Tillmann, J.E., Finck, P. & Riecken, U. (2013) Wisente im Rothaargebirge. Naturschutz und Biologische Vielfalt 133. Bundesamtes für Naturschutz

(18) European Bison at the Rothaargebirge, Federal Agency for Nature Conservation

(19) Wisente im Rothaargebirge, Bundesamtes für Naturschutz

(20) Positionspapier des Bundesamtes für Naturschutz zum Wisent (Bison bonasus) (Stand: 30.04.2008)

(21) Bison og parasitter, Naturstyrelsen 05-08-2015

(22) Flere dødsfald i Bisonskoven Naturstyrelsen 31-08-2015

(23) Buchmann, K., Lis Christiansen, L.L. Thamsborg, S.M., Johansen, M.V., Olsen, A., Friese, S., and Didriksen, U. (2014) Bisonoksers snyltere - med fokus på den bornholmske bestand. Årsskriftet Natur på Bornholm. 12: 36–40

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

(25) 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 113: 898–906

(26) The challenge of Lost Island - making ourselves wilder, Self-willed land November 2014

(27) Hører elefanten hjemme i Danmarks skove? Martin Kunzendorf, DR Dk 15. NOV. 2013

(28) Pellis, A. and de Jong, R. (2016) Rewilding Europe as a new agent of change? Exploring the governance of an experimental discourse and practice in European nature conservation. Wageningen UR for Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Final Report 1 March 2016

(29) Millingerwaard, part of Gelderse Poort, Rewilding Europe

(30) Restoring the natural river valley of Dviete, Rewilding Europe

(31) What is rewilding? Rewilding Europe

(32) New release of European bison in The Netherlands, Rewilding Europe 8 March 2016

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

(34) Advisors, Rewilding Europe

(35) From Untended Farmland, Reserve Tries to Recreate Wilderness From Long Ago, Suzanne Daley, The New York Times 13 June 2014

(36) Rubenstein, D. R., & Rubenstein, D. I. (2015). From Pleistocene to trophic rewilding: A wolf in sheep’s clothing. PNAS 113: E1

(37) 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 (2016). Reply to Rubenstein and Rubenstein: Time to move on from ideological debates on rewilding. PNAS 113: E2-E3

(38) Table of Contents, PNAS vol. 113 no. 4, 26 January 2016

(39) Carey, J. (2016) Core Concepts: Rewilding. PNAS 113: 806-808

(40) 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 113: 847–855

(41) Can the ecological functions of wolves be substituted? Self-willed land September 2015

(42) van Klink, R., Ruifrok, J. L., & Smit, C. (2016). Rewilding with large herbivores: Direct effects and edge effects of grazing refuges on plant and invertebrate communities. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. In Press.

(43) The most unnatural conservation policy possible, Self-willed land July 2010

(44) Halada, L., D. Evans, C. Romão & J.-E. Petersen (2011). Which habitats of European importance depend on agricultural practices? Biodiversity and Conservation 20: 2365-2378

(45) State of nature in the EU: Results from reporting under the nature directives 2007–2012.  European Environment Agency Technical report No 2/2015

(46) The revisionism of the conservation industry – expanding the noosphere in Britain, Self-willed land March 2012

(47) Bison herd in the Southern Carpathians attacked by a pack of feral stray dogs, Rewilding Europe 21 January 2016

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

(49) The myth of the dense wildwood! Tony Whitbread blogspot 14 November 2013

(50) Holes in the rewilding versus conservation debate, Tony Whitbread, Sussex Wildlife Trust News 27 January 2014

(51) Friston Forest Grazing Project, Sussex Wildlife Trust

(52) A really wild interview with Chris Packham, Rewilding Britain 3 March 2016

(53) THE FUTURE OF WILD EUROPE. Postgraduate and Early-Career Researcher Conference. University of Leeds 12–14 September, 2016

(54) Environmental Humanities for a Concerned Europe. Horizon 2020 Project reference: 642935

(55) Chapron, G., Kaczensky, P., Linnell, J. D., von Arx, M., Huber, D., Andrén, H., ... & Balčiauskas, L. (2014). Recovery of large carnivores in Europe’s modern human-dominated landscapes. Science, 346(6216), 1517-1519

(56) Shelford, V.E. (1933) The Preservation of Natural Biotic Communities. Ecology 14(2): 240-245. Reprinted in Nelson, M. P., & Callicott, J. B. (Eds.). (2008). The wilderness debate rages on: Continuing the great new wilderness debate. University of Georgia Press. Ppg 79-89

(57) Ecological consequence of predator removal, Self-willed land July 2014

(58) Cry wolf - the return of Britain's top predator, Self-willed land February 2015

(59) Lynx UK Trust lets the cat out of the bag, Self-willed land April 2015

(60) Big areas for ecological restoration, Self-willed land December 2015

(61) Lack of natural control mechanisms - the missing lynx, Self-willed land June 2014

(62) Large carnivores as the focal species for reinstatement of natural processes in Britain, Self-willed land November 2014

(63) Habitat fragmentation and the ecology of artefacts, Self-willed land January 2015

(64) The third dimension is the last refuge of the wild, Self-willed land December 2014

(65) Watching the naturalness return to the Carrifran Valley, Self-willed land April 2015

(66) Planned work, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

(67) Ecological rewilding: Planned work, ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. Wildland Research Institute February 2016\articles\ecological_rewilding.pdf