Parties & public urged to choose rewilding in Scottish election

Press release from the Scottish Rewilding Alliance (19th April 2021)

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance has today set out the five key choices Holyrood will have to make during the next session to tackle the nature and climate crises.

In each case Parliament will have to decide whether to persist with a failing status quo or choose to make the bold changes the Alliance argues can protect and enhance biodiversity, help tackle climate change, and boost rural employment.

The Alliance, which is campaigning for Scotland to declare itself the world’s first Rewilding Nation, is urging all of Scotland’s political parties to commit to the following policy changes:

* To commit to rewilding 30% of public land, both for the direct benefits it will bring for wildlife and people, and set a good example for other landowners;

* To establish a community fund to support rewilding in our towns and cities, making the benefits of wild spaces available more widely;

* To back the reintroduction of keystone species, including rehoming beavers beyond their current limited range and considering a pilot reintroduction for the Eurasian lynx, where there is local support, suitable habitat and stakeholder buy-in;

* To introduce an inshore recovery zone where dredging and trawling are not permitted, to support species recovery and low impact fisheries; and

* To bring in robust deer population management: reducing overgrazing could allow two million hectares of peatland to recover and native woodlands to regenerate and expand, soaking up carbon dioxide reducing flooding, and restoring more diverse landscapes.

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance last year commissioned Scottish polling from Survation which showed strong support for the principle of rewilding. Of those who expressed a preference, 76% backed rewilding, with more than ten times supporting the idea as opposed it.

Steve Micklewright, Convenor of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance, said:

The parties and the public face many choices at this election, including major decisions which will shape the future of Scotland’s lands and seas. We can do so much better than the status quo, which has left us with damaged and unproductive lands and seas, degraded carbon sinks, and a biodiversity crisis in parallel with the climate crisis.

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance is today urging all the political parties to commit to five key policy decisions over the next session, measures which can unlock rural and coastal economic potential, help us protect against climate change and reduce our emissions, while allowing our plants and wildlife to come back in strength.

We know the public wants to see politicians make real progress on rewilding, and we would encourage people to take these issues into account when they’re looking at the parties’ manifestos. The opportunities here are substantial, for our climate, biodiversity, and for a wide range of potential social and economic benefits associated with making Scotland the world’s first Rewilding Nation.”


[Beaver photo by Scotland The Big Picture]

5 thoughts on “Parties & public urged to choose rewilding in Scottish election”

  1. This is a deeply conservative ambition. I can not see any dates and it addresses only public lands (although controlling the deer population could be very significant). There was an opportunity to address European scales of forest cover ie 30- 40% of all lands. I am very disappointed with this and it seems to not address the Glasgow Summit and the wider climate debate where re wildling could assist with atmospheric drawdown of C02. I am happy to say that Biden seems ambitious and China/USA seem to have a mutual interest that is over riding areas of great power conflict. There is no ambition in the UK debate. The Precautionary Principle defines clearly that we need to have C02 falling back towards 350ppm and below; that is where our entire ecosystems evolved. Scotland is missing a trick re global leadership and is in a position re renewables to accept the challenge. I await the next big El Nino and follow the methane release in the melting Arctic.

  2. Considering that the general public almost certainly doesn’t yet have the full picture re how restoration in the uplands could stop their homes and businesses from getting flooded, that a reduced red deer population will also mean fewer people maimed and killed in road accidents, that there are infinitely more jobs in wildlife tourism than catering for people who want to shoot driven grouse or a weedy, shivering stag on a treeless hillside then it’s amazing the public support for rewilding is as strong as it is. Doing a better job of public promotion would mean that getting even stronger. No wonder the few benefitting from the status quo are panicking and the knives are well and truly out for beaver, lynx, sea eagles in a rather massive disinformation campaign.

  3. I remain simply “Gobsmacked” by the failure of this report to mention the Glasgow Climate Conference or the potential for mitigation / never mind drawdown of C02 emissions. There is also nothing apparent on the price of current “agricultural” subsidies for preserving this artificial, treeless upland desert. There should be an upper cap on subsidies; its the only “benefit” system designed to support large landowners and the “Super Rich” with a lower level entry requirement to exclude smallholders. Can i be clear that when I say an ambition of 40% tree cover to get Scotland near the European AVERAGE I include some large areas of well designed plantations, preferably larch (although there have been disease issues recently), there is a massive trade deficit in timber, while obviously I do not advocate planting on deep peats or blanket mire but maybe forestry targeting a sustainable construction industry and upland jobs?

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