Rewilding is an environmental restoration strategy that uses species introductions to restore interactions between species and other natural processes. While controversial, rewilding programs are becoming more common. This is partly because of the realization that large animals are important for ecosystems, and widespread losses have occurred.
ACS and colleagues recently published a synthesis on rewilding and the science around it. Led by Jens-Cristian Svenning (Aarhus Univeristy), the review explores rewilding's current scientific basis and discusses the main lessons learned from ongoing projects. Evidence suggests that trophic interactions may be restored via rewilding programs. However, megafauna effects may be affected by poorly understood trophic complexity effects and interactions with landscape settings, human activities, and other factors. Unfortunately, empirical research on rewilding is still rare, fragmented, and geographically biased. There is a strong need for applied programs to include hypothesis testing and science-based monitoring within rewilding programs.
Svenning, J-C, P.B.M. Pedersen, C.J. Donlan, R. Ejrmaes, S. Faurby, M. Galetti, D.M. Hansen, B. sandel, C.J. Sandom, J.W. Terborgh, F.W.M. Vera. 2015. Science for a wilder Anthropocene: synthesis and future direction for trophic rewilding research. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA. doi:10.1073/pnas.1502556112