There is a common misunderstanding that Rewilding is only relevant for large wilderness areas and national parks – that we can’t rewild our farms and gardens. But it’s not true.

As the organisation Rewilding Britain states – rewilding is “bringing Nature back to life” by restoring living systems.

We urgently need to get the ecosystems in our farms and gardens functioning again, particularly our nutrient and water cycles, solar energy capture, and functional biodiversity. Growing food in dysfunctional ecosystems and substituting Nature’s free ecological services with agro-chemicals and bio-fertilisers has become the norm. Virtually everybody does it, and there is a lot of pressure from vested interests to make sure we remain dependent on this interventionist approach.

The only way to change this is by making our gardens and farms living systems again.

By creating living systems we benefit from more robust growing conditions, lower fertiliser, pest control and other input costs, and improved yields. [1]

And in the process, rewild our farms and gardens!

Organic matter, carbon, and water infiltration in soil, and biodiversity are often the focus for regenerative farming and gardening. These are useful intermediate measures, but we need to get our ecosystems ‘tuned up and running’ for these things to really improve.

Soils with functioning nutrient recycling systems support bio-diverse and abundant microbial and invertebrate biomass. Combine living soil systems with the functional biodiversity needed to pollinate crops and create pest-resistant landscapes, and we start supplying the food and habitat required to restore farmland and garden bird, small mammal and insect populations.

Biodiversity, as well as carbon sequestration, flood mitigation, and reduced fertiliser, pesticide and sediment runoff, are supplied naturally as by-products from repairing the functioning of our ecosystems.

Wide-ranging generalist species find homes again, and our work supporting the conservation of rare plant and animals with specialist habitat requirements becomes, in effect, the icing on the cake.

What’s important is that we have the ‘living systems’ as the cake onto which we can spread the icing!

 

Find out how to use this eco-logical approach to rewilding your farm  – Eco-logical Farming Handbook.

Learning from Nature is publishing a Handbook for gardeners in early in 2020. Contact us, and we will let you know when it is available. If you want to get started now, the eco-logical principles are the same – whether you grow in a small back yard or over hundreds of acres!

[1] Wendy Seabrook, 2019, Eco-logical Farming Handbook, published by Learning from Nature