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About this Research Topic

Abstract Submission Deadline 15 January 2023
Manuscript Submission Deadline 17 March 2023

Rewilding is a long-term and large-scale process which works to restore degraded ecosystems or social-ecological systems to the point that they are resilient and self-sustaining and therefore requiring little in terms of conservation management. Rewilding practice focuses on re-establishing ecological processes, including trophic levels, that were lost, mainly due to anthropogenic disturbance. It also aims to affect a paradigm shift in human-nature relationships, with intentions to better understand the interdependencies between humans and nature so that people can appreciate and accommodate nature in their landscapes, and make more informed and sustainable decisions about how we live. In this sense, rewilding has real transformational potential.

The concept of rewilding emerged in the late 1980s in response to growing awareness of the extinction and climate crises and a recognition that conservation biology should be more effective, optimistic, inclusive, adaptive and more aligned with growing understanding of how ecosystems work. This shift away from traditional conservation meant that there has been a lack of guidance on how to apply rewilding, with a number of different interventions proposed in theory and used in practice, leading to conceptual debates. While the number of rewilding projects and organizations has increased globally, academic literature has tended to focus on resolving these debates and contains very little empirical evidence based on practical rewilding experience. This has led to an increasing divide between rewilding “research” and practice.

This collection aims to address these issues and calls for case studies of rewilding projects which can provide insight into the practice of rewilding and provide evidence of how rewilding is being planned, implemented, and measured. We acknowledge that rewilding is a long-term and large-scale process so there may be projects at varying stages. We encourage a range of submissions, but these must include some evidence of rewilding progress. Some rewilding projects are very large and therefore it may be suitable to submit case studies for smaller projects within a wider program to provide specific information rather than broad examples.

On submission you will be asked to select an article type, please use the most appropriate from the following list:

-Community Case Reports
- Brief Research Reports
- Policy and Practice Reviews
- Policy Brief
- Original Research (if suitable)

While we encourage case studies to provide any information they deem appropriate, please include, where possible:
- Name of the project
- Target area of the project, including information on ownership and the wider ecological and social landscape.
- Why or how this area was chosen as a target – this will help to inform how land is acquired or prioritized for rewilding.
- Is there intention or potential to expand the scope/area of the project?
- Year the project started and envisioned timeline (if any).
- Main aims of the project, including ecological and social objectives over short or long term.
- Methods for monitoring rewilding progress.
- Who is driving the project and what other organizations/people are involved?
- Are there other stakeholders which are being consulted or included, and how?
- How is the project being funded?
- Interventions: past, present and planned. How did they progress rewilding and did they lead to desired results?
- What lessons have been learned?
- Do you feel your project aligns with the guiding principles for rewilding (see Carver et al., 2021) and include where they have not aligned and why.
- Has your understanding of rewilding changed over the process? Have your project goals expanded beyond the original scope of the project?
- What policy opportunities and constraints did you experience during the planning and implementation of the project?
- What are the main barriers to achieving long-term rewilding (including financial, political, ecological, socio-cultural)?
- Have opportunities arisen which have helped to progress rewilding (including financial, political, ecological, socio-cultural)?
- What guidelines or frameworks have you used to inform your work?

This collection will be managed by a core editorial team from the IUCN CEM Rewilding Thematic Group (RTG), but will also draw on the extensive knowledge and networks of RTG and CEM members to ensure that our selected case studies represent a diverse range of global rewilding projects and experience. This collection will inform the RTG’s work towards rewilding guidelines.

Keywords: rewilding, ecological conservation, IUCN, extinction, climate crisis, degraded ecosystems


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Rewilding is a long-term and large-scale process which works to restore degraded ecosystems or social-ecological systems to the point that they are resilient and self-sustaining and therefore requiring little in terms of conservation management. Rewilding practice focuses on re-establishing ecological processes, including trophic levels, that were lost, mainly due to anthropogenic disturbance. It also aims to affect a paradigm shift in human-nature relationships, with intentions to better understand the interdependencies between humans and nature so that people can appreciate and accommodate nature in their landscapes, and make more informed and sustainable decisions about how we live. In this sense, rewilding has real transformational potential.

The concept of rewilding emerged in the late 1980s in response to growing awareness of the extinction and climate crises and a recognition that conservation biology should be more effective, optimistic, inclusive, adaptive and more aligned with growing understanding of how ecosystems work. This shift away from traditional conservation meant that there has been a lack of guidance on how to apply rewilding, with a number of different interventions proposed in theory and used in practice, leading to conceptual debates. While the number of rewilding projects and organizations has increased globally, academic literature has tended to focus on resolving these debates and contains very little empirical evidence based on practical rewilding experience. This has led to an increasing divide between rewilding “research” and practice.

This collection aims to address these issues and calls for case studies of rewilding projects which can provide insight into the practice of rewilding and provide evidence of how rewilding is being planned, implemented, and measured. We acknowledge that rewilding is a long-term and large-scale process so there may be projects at varying stages. We encourage a range of submissions, but these must include some evidence of rewilding progress. Some rewilding projects are very large and therefore it may be suitable to submit case studies for smaller projects within a wider program to provide specific information rather than broad examples.

On submission you will be asked to select an article type, please use the most appropriate from the following list:

-Community Case Reports
- Brief Research Reports
- Policy and Practice Reviews
- Policy Brief
- Original Research (if suitable)

While we encourage case studies to provide any information they deem appropriate, please include, where possible:
- Name of the project
- Target area of the project, including information on ownership and the wider ecological and social landscape.
- Why or how this area was chosen as a target – this will help to inform how land is acquired or prioritized for rewilding.
- Is there intention or potential to expand the scope/area of the project?
- Year the project started and envisioned timeline (if any).
- Main aims of the project, including ecological and social objectives over short or long term.
- Methods for monitoring rewilding progress.
- Who is driving the project and what other organizations/people are involved?
- Are there other stakeholders which are being consulted or included, and how?
- How is the project being funded?
- Interventions: past, present and planned. How did they progress rewilding and did they lead to desired results?
- What lessons have been learned?
- Do you feel your project aligns with the guiding principles for rewilding (see Carver et al., 2021) and include where they have not aligned and why.
- Has your understanding of rewilding changed over the process? Have your project goals expanded beyond the original scope of the project?
- What policy opportunities and constraints did you experience during the planning and implementation of the project?
- What are the main barriers to achieving long-term rewilding (including financial, political, ecological, socio-cultural)?
- Have opportunities arisen which have helped to progress rewilding (including financial, political, ecological, socio-cultural)?
- What guidelines or frameworks have you used to inform your work?

This collection will be managed by a core editorial team from the IUCN CEM Rewilding Thematic Group (RTG), but will also draw on the extensive knowledge and networks of RTG and CEM members to ensure that our selected case studies represent a diverse range of global rewilding projects and experience. This collection will inform the RTG’s work towards rewilding guidelines.

Keywords: rewilding, ecological conservation, IUCN, extinction, climate crisis, degraded ecosystems


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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