Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Rewilding - am I wrong? If so explain why  (Read 2160 times)


  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. Some say it's in England !
Re: Rewilding - am I wrong? If so explain why
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2019, 07:57:37 pm »
Ok, I’m catching up now and thinking that wilding and/or rewilding is never going to catch-on in any significant way here or elsewhere!

The pragmatic wilding of the Knepp Estate is a thought-provoking instance and talking point, but their economic decision/reality-check is really not about to happen routinely in the UK, or across the World.  It might help inspire other folk who have similarly been battling against the odds to make their land profitable from managed agriculture, but it’s not going to do anything for folk across the world where wilding would simply mean desert with the odd extra succulent or baobab tree !!
While there may come a time when wide-scale wilding happens because of world socio-economic disorder or natural or man-made catastrophes (e.g. Chernobyl), I personally don’t see need for much wilding debate right now.  Knepp is, never the less, a great opportunity for some UK ecological monitoring/learning and a book. 

However, I’d rather folk don’t go about re-introducing things with big teeth into the UK (& that includes beavers) without careful/thorough control measures;  control will almost certainly need annual culls with a new British menu (wolf/bear/beaver burnt-ends in a spicy Brexit BBQ sauce anyone?).   Of course, beavers might end up being voted positive for flood control (subject, of course, to an annual cull idc - unless foxes take up snorkling!).
London fashion week 2022 advert -  “Forget imitation fur – we will be show-casing the real thing in our special ‘rewilding waste not want not’ cat-walk event. 
« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 08:46:24 pm by arobwk »


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Rewilding - am I wrong? If so explain why
« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2019, 01:32:35 am »
The way things are now there is little room for rewilding or reintroducing species.

But there is, just not everywhere.

Trying to rewild Holyrood Park in Edinburgh is clearly not going to work.  On the other hand, just south of where I live, you could draw a line on a map enclosing about 1500km2 (1/3 million acres).  That single area could be drawn without enclosing any roads or habited houses and that land currently supports next to no cattle or sheep (or any other agriculture).  There are several similar areas in Scotland.

You would need to spend 50 years allowing woodland to recover as the first stage of re-wilding but why not?

PS don't that the Highlands are a wild and natural landscape as they are now, they are managed and modified by people as much as any other landscape.

Loch Arkaig (just north of Fort William) and the surrounding forest is a case in point. The Woodland  Trust bought it a few years ago, with donations from the public (including me  :thumbsup: ) and a lottery. The forest had lain unmanaged since it was used for secret troop training in WW2, when it had been severely damaged by artillery fire and other manouvers. I forget who used it more recently, maybe it was for forestry.  The Woodland Trust now manages the whole area for wildlife, but in a way that people can visit and walk, explore, camp and see the wildlife. Ospreys and White Tailed Eagles have moved in from places such as Mull, there are many other rare wild animals, some of which are only suspected such as the Scottish Wildcat, but there are red squirrels and pine martens, boar and various rare birds. These were either already there, or have moved in since the management began.  Trees are being replanted and many are growing from natural reseeding. Although there is no word of repopulating the area, it already has many long term human residents who coexist with the wild area.

This shows that wilding an area does not take it out of the hands of people, but can encourage use of the land for recreation hand in hand with for wildlife. This area will produce timber as before, but as trees are felled I think the plan is to allow, or replant, trees appropriate to the old Caledonian Forest, Scots Pine. I don't know if there is any agriculture in the area previously established.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: Rewilding - am I wrong? If so explain why
« Reply #32 on: May 19, 2019, 07:59:22 am »
I don't think that is quite right, I reckon if you want the landscape back to a certain way 50 years is not nearly long enough, it would be a doable timescale with active planting etc but not abandonment

That's correct in that you can't just abandon land and hope for a particular outcome.  In this case because the population of deer is so high (deer population in Scotland have at least doubled since the 60s) to the point where they wipe out any vegetation that tries to grow -  many estates feed wild deer silage through the winter as there is not enough natural vegetation to stop them starving!

Control the deer and 50 years would be plenty time for a big forest to grow (possibly with a bit of planting in areas that are really remote from surviving seed sources).  Creag meagaidh is a good example of what can be done in 30 years and is well worth a visit.

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Rewilding - am I wrong? If so explain why
« Reply #33 on: May 19, 2019, 08:33:17 am »
To be honest I was thinking farmland into woods/wilds like Knapp farm rather thank uplands and moors. I understand they're managed for deer and grouse for the good of the few and well imagine swathes of these could be wooded and improved.  As an incomer I like the Scottish shooting heritage and the money it brings in. The big lodges, matching cottages, landrovers, well kept roads and fences, etc are a stark contrast to the welsh valleys where I grew up walking: everything rusted and held together with bailer twine! I'd hope there might be room for the estates to continue while reducing stocking densityand improving land for wildlife.


  • Joined Oct 2011
Re: Rewilding - am I wrong? If so explain why
« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2019, 07:55:44 pm »
The way things are now there is little room for rewilding or reintroducing species. The only Scottish beavers I’ve seen around Kirriemuir have had a pretty big influence on the immediate area.  When I was a wildlife biology student I was told they wouldn’t build dams! Turns out they do build dams (which need regular clearing with a jcb and now managers have installed metal cages in the waterways to prevent beavers entering streams and blocking them). They fell quite a lot of trees and ring bark still more; land managers have wrapped trees in chicken wire in an effort to protect them. About every waterway in lowlands is mapped and managed, I consider it will become another burden to deal with which we could do without. Perhaps allowing all these to become half blocked and flood for the winter months will be great or, perhaps it’ll erode tons and tons of soil as well as take more ground out of production? As for the trees along the waterways forming wildlife corridors, not sure it’ll look the same once beavers have moved in, unless we cover them all in chicken wire!

I LOVE the idea of leaving our land to heal and regenerate for decades but it cannot be done.  And yes, it’s irresponsible because using other countries resources and then excess energy shipping food here cannot be ethical.

They are using beavers to build dams and slow water courses, even employing humans to build dams to slow run off in floods with natural flood barriers.
  As a child I spent hours on a beach damming water, making inlets and generally messing about with water. We had some ground works done, by professionals and I was surprised how little they knew about how water works, what effects its flow and how a slight a graduation can change its course. 

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Rewilding - am I wrong? If so explain why
« Reply #35 on: May 20, 2019, 08:17:12 am »
I know. Which sounds nice and holistic, till it is your fields and gateways and tracks which are flooded and impassable in winter without continually digging out all the brash with a JCB. Luckily they’re not here yet, but it’s a matter of time and seeing how they’ve worked in other areas and the amount of flooding and work gone into blocking them out and removing their dams I’m not looking forward to it. Maybe I’m wrong and it’ll be great without ill effect.


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