Firstly, what is rewilding?
Rewilding is a conservation idea that aims to restore the world to its natural state long before human activity changed the landscape.
How can it be used?
Rewilding can reintroduce key native species to areas where they have been wiped out. It can also be used to restore landscapes that may have been changed due to human activity.
Why use rewilding in North America?
Over time North America has suffered a great decline in species, in particular large land mammals. In 2005, a proposal was made to rewild North America with species from the Pleistocene era, with a particular focus on mega-fauna including the African elephant.
What are the risks and problems?
- The unknown impact of reintroduction could damage the current environment such as causing disease
- Rewilding may restrict human access and development
- There are high financial costs with unknown benefit
Rewilding may have the power to protect and improve the environment through attempts to restore the native environment. This means that reintroduction of key native species could lead to an increase of biodiversity – this would be fantastic for the environment!
Although it is an exciting idea and captures our imagination, there are many uncertainties in rewilding. This makes it an unlikely solution to protecting the environment as it could result in irreversible damage to other species. Unfortunately, rewilding seems like a bad idea in North America. Funding could perhaps be better spent on other conservation efforts. It would likely make more sense to focus on protecting mega-fauna that is already there. We should focus on protecting North America’s existing species whilst focusing on ways for humans to live harmoniously with the environment.