People tend to think that Rewilding – re-introducing wild animals – is only relevant to wilderness areas and national parks.
Imagine a future where we expand the idea of ‘rewilding’ to include re-introducing wild ecological functions, and make our farms and gardens rewilding projects.
Rewilding is not as hard as it may seem and gives us a helping hand with our growing.
As George Monbiot describes in his TED talk– we can get help from unexpected places.
When wolves were re-introduced into Yellowstone National Park in 1995 they made a big impact on the deer population. For 70 years deer had the freedom to roam, breed unhindered, and overgraze.
What’s really interesting…
The wolves also radically changed deer behaviour. Keeping the deer out of the river valleys and gorges.
Trees came back in the valleys, and then the birds, beavers, bears…
The rivers changed in response.
“Wolves small in number transformed not just the ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park, but also it’s physical geography”
It’s a great example of how strategic intervention in ecosystems can radically improve ecological functions. Especially when we explore functional connections between species at different levels of the food chain.
That’s why creating functional connections between plants, herbivores, and predators an important practice in our Ecological Toolkit.
How can I rewild my garden and farm?
One easy way to start – create habitat for predatory insects and birds. You’re then using predators to control pests. They are not as spectacularly bloodthirsty as wolves hunting deer. But equally ecologically important.
It’s not hard to take the first steps
Most plant nurseries now stock a variety of plants – big and small, annual and perennial – that are good at attracting ‘beneficial insects and birds’. Just ask. You’ll be rewilding your landscape and also saving money – using predators to control pests rather than commercial pest controls.
Photo of George from monbiot.com/about/ and lead pic copyright, Lori Labrecque