Rewilding is our method of choice for rebuilding thriving ecosystems across Europe. Rewilding is a nature conservation and restoration approach. Its aim is to initiate ecological processes through small yet effective measures, leading to a cascade of positive ecological co-benefits. For instance, introducing keystone species such as beavers can have a disproportionately positive impact on biodiversity due to their natural behaviors, such as building dams that create new habitats for many other species.
The ultimate goal of rewilding is to establish resilient ecosystems that require minimal human intervention. In addition, European rewilding endeavors to generate significant social and economic benefits for local communities, given the high population density of the region. Wilderness is a crucial resource, not only on a global scale but particularly in densely populated Europe.
We don’t like the whole dramatic narrative, but at the current scale of ecosystem destruction, it’s looking pretty grim for our species. However, the other side of this coin offers a crazy opportunity!
If we manage to rebuild healthy ecosystems on a big scale, we have a pretty good chance of turning this whole climate and biodiversity disaster around and actually build a world which is more sustainable, more diverse, more just, resilient and wild!
All we need to do is pick up our shovels, phones or whatever we can pick up to rewild our lands!
We’ll start in Portugal, where we’ll rewild our pilot plot of land, guided by the 4 returns framework.
Spreading hope and inspiration
Improving natural ecosystems
Providing economic opportunities
Creating value for communities
The way we use land together with our democratic community, the Wild Climate Club, is the 4Returns framework by Commonland – a scheme of land use we found really helpful to use! Especially when thinking about long-term changes on land we can barely imagine today, it is important to have some rules to stick to.
The Greater Côa Valley, nestled within the northeastern part of Portugal, lies between the Douro and Malcata mountain ranges. The region is characterized by its natural beauty, featuring rugged terrain, rocky hills, meandering rivers, and lush oak forests.
The increasing abandonment of this area presents a unique opportunity for large-scale rewilding—an approach to conservation that involves restoring natural ecosystems by allowing natural processes to shape and regenerate the environment, with humans considered as part of the ecological system and playing a key role in initiating interventions to kickstart ecological processes.
Rewilding the Greater Côa region offers havens for the resurgence of wildlife, as populations of wild boar, red deer, roe deer, vultures, and eagles are on the rise. Additionally, apex predators like the Iberian wolf and the Iberian lynx play a crucial role in the rewilding of this area.
Through our dedicated efforts, we aspire to enhance connectivity within the Côa region, bridging the gap between the southern Douro region and the Malcata mountain range. This endeavor aims to create a cohesive network that facilitates wildlife movement, thereby enhancing the ecological integrity of this region.