hares Caroline Smith

Caroline Smith

Natural World Fund is an amazing organisation that has big plans to rewild large parts of England, by pooling donations for ‘community rewilding projects’ to buy and restore degraded land to its natural state, to create habitats for native wildlife. Methods include planting woodlands and wild meadows, and restoring wetlands (which also protects fish populations).

Together this helps to reduce carbon, protect biodiversity, prevent floods and protect endangered species by restoring habitats and natural food chains (many of our native wildlife including dormice, hedgehogs, bees and water voles are all critically endangered). Check out Natural World’s Instagram, which has amazing photos of all the wonderful creatures that could be protected by supporting Natural World Fund!

pending possible sites to restore

  1. A 70-acre plot in Yorkshire (with degraded soil and few trees, hedges or wildflowers) due to intensive farming has plans to restore a natural woodland and wetland paradise, with quality soil. Derelict buildings could be restored to educate, powered by water energy.
  2. Goit Stock Wood (also in Yorkshire) lies in rolling countryside by a popular waterfall, and the charity aims to buy the ancient woodlands so nobody can buy them. It also has plans to install sustainable flood management techniques like leaky dams and natural overspill areas.
  3. A 4-acre site (a former reservoir in York) is overgrown with trees, shrubs and grassland, yet still an important site for local nature. Thankfully a bid to build houses here was refused (due to letters from local residents) but there are sure to be more bids. So again Natural World Fund wants to buy this plot to protect it from development, to protect local wildlife (foxes, hedgehogs, tawny owls, woodpeckers, waxwings, sparrohawks and voles).

why community rewilding is needed

Natural History Museums reports that England now ranks in the bottom 7 of countries for biodiversity (Costa Rica paradoxically has the most biodiversity, due to stringent laws to protect wildlife). The main reason we are losing wildlife is due to lack of habitat (we have lost nearly all our forests, wetlands and wild meadows. The government even tried to sell off remaining forests a few years back to private industry, only stopped due to a petition by 38 degrees. Rewilding is the answer.

Actor Mackenzie Crook (who played dorky ‘Gareth’ in TV comedy The Office) is a passionate environmentalist. A few years ago (when he could have used money from a project to buy a Ferrari), he instead bought an 8-acre woodland in Essex, so nobody could build on it!

what is rewilding (and does it help?)

what goes inside a beaver pond?

Rewilding is more than ‘leaving nature alone’, it’s about actively creating ecosystems to let wildlife then thrive, without human interference. One great example of successful rewilding has been reintroducing beavers (who once were almost hunted to extinction) to rivers, where their love for building dams is helping to prevent floods. Most land in England is owned by an elite few . Some campaigners are asking Prince Willliam to give over a larger percentage of Dartmoor (which he owns a lot of) for rewilding.

The Critic has a article on the ‘false argument on rewilding vs affordable housing’. The answer is that you can have both. Nearly everyone in England wants local biodiversity to be protected, but experts say government could loosen planning laws, to build sustainable homes in high-demand urban areas, while still protecting green belt land from building.

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