Today’s Solutions: May 17, 2022

Another expansive rewilding initiative was launched last week in England. The restoration process is focused on the gorgeous but barren landscape of the Yorkshire Dales. While the Yorkshire Dales is celebrated for its bleak beauty, the fact of the matter is that the land’s striking appearance is due to over-grazing, which prevents the native wildlife, such as red squirrels, cuckoos, and black grouse, from flourishing.

The Wild Ingleborough initiative, which is led by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT), is in partnership with Natural England, The University of Leeds, the United Bank of Carbon, the Woodland Trust, and finally, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The aim is to offer an “alternative future” for the 3,000 acres of land by facilitating a large-scale natural restoration project that will hopefully result in the reintroduction of a thriving and diverse ecosystem.

Wild Ingleborough will see the restoration of overgrazed peatlands and the expansion of native woodland, both of which will provide natural habitats for native animals and will act as carbon sinks. To help things along, approximately 30,000 trees will be planted, however, the plan is to let most of the new woodland regenerate itself by simply giving nature the space to reclaim what is theirs.

CEO of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Rachael Bice states that “by intervening carefully, we will see the landscape of the dales transform; restoring natural process and communities of plants and animals, which will help to secure and enrich the future of Yorkshire’s residents and visitors too.”

Tanya Steele, chief executive at WWF echoes Bice’s sentiment and hopes that the expected success of this rewilding effort will demonstrate that “a wilder world is a more stable one, with nature more resilient and able to adapt to change.”

This “passive rewilding” will not only absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and boost biodiversity, but it could help protect the region from flooding. It may also attract more tourism to the area, as more people become interested in nature restoration projects.

In fact, tour guides in Europe are now being taught about the potential of rewilding initiatives to draw tourists to remote areas through a new training initiative led by Rewilding Europe. The program hopes that remote communities can benefit environmentally and economically from rewilding projects.

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