ECOS 38 (1)

Ideological challenges to nature conservation are nothing new, but now they can take different guises in the context of Brexit and in the (perhaps wilful) distortion of rewilding.


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Peter Taylor

Peter Taylor's most recent work The Spirit of Rewilding was published in 2017. His 2011 edited volume, Rewilding, is available from BANC publications.

3 thoughts on “ECOS 38 (1): Hard Brexit – Soft Rewilding?

  1. Peter: once again you diminish a good argument by pursuing your idiosyncratic line on climate change. You say: “The global treaties on climate are often in his (Ridley’s) sights. Unfortunately, I think he is right on the topic of climate, and when the frost settles (as I believe the data shows it will), there is a risk that he and the interests he represents will claim the whole field, and progressive environmental reforms will be shouted down”. How much longer do we have to wait for your promised cooling to show up in the data? Why do you want to keep company with Ridley, James Delingpole and Scott Pruitt on this? But the rest of your article I like!

  2. It is indeed a huge shame that Guardianista-types have cottoned on to ‘re-wildling’ as something that will enhance their columns and after-dinner speeches. My own learning began in Findhorn (2005?) where I found many people who actually saw the world as I did. That was a revelation (although accompanied by an increasing wave of panic as I realised that the cafeteria was wholly vegetarian). Since then, I have been working in the world that Peter describes as “agri-environment schemes … grouse shoots and killing foxes to save lapwings …” (apols for partial quote). It has changed and grown my views and confidence in re-wilding. I remember Frans Vera, while at a meeting at Knepp Castle, insisting that to attempt re-wildling at a scale under 30,000 ha was not possible. I agreed at the time, but don’t now. There are some great examples of smaller scale and partial re-wildling that have brought considerable benefits – maybe we need another compendium?

  3. As an academic who has an interest in this debate, I’ve tried not to be one who ‘talked up the extremes’, instead attempt to articulate a more consensual position, most obviously in my book Quartz and Feldspar. Dartmoor: A British Landscape in Modern Times (2015). I discussed Peter’s work there and in the 2016 paperback revision I suggested ‘soft rewilding’ as a plausible aim. I’ve also tried to provide some historical perspective on the issue here:

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