A sticking plaster approach to conservation is failing Scotland’s wildlife – and with species such as red squirrel, wild cat and capercaillie declining or on the edge of extinction, a new era of massive rewilding is needed, says a landmark new book from Trees for Life and SCOTLAND: The Big Picture.
Scotland has the space and opportunity to take a fresh approach, with people working with nature, not against it, and allowing ecosystems to restore themselves on a large-scale, say the authors of Scotland: A Rewilding Journey, which is being launched in Inverness this evening.
“Right now, nature is in steep decline – but Scotland is perfectly placed to become a rewilding world-leader. Our wild places can flourish if we allow nature to work in its own way on a big scale, with a helping hand in places. There would be huge benefits for people – from our health and wellbeing to creating sustainable jobs in rural areas,” said Steve Micklewright, Chief Executive of Trees for Life.
Illustrated by world-class images captured by top nature photographers over three years, and with essays from leading commentators, the book lays out an inspiring vision of how rewilding forests, peatlands, rivers, moorlands and the ocean could transform Scotland for the better.
Deforestation, deer and sheep grazing, burning moors for grouse hunting, exotic conifers and denuded seas have left Scotland as one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries, its landscapes supporting fewer people than previously as a result. Climate change now poses a major threat.
Returns or rebounds of species like beavers, sea eagles and pine martens happen slowly. Birds of prey like hen harriers are persecuted. Wolf, crane, wild boar, elk and lynx were all made extinct long ago.