Letting nature just take its course?

Nature needs open space. That’s what Frans Schepers thinks, Executive Director of the NGO Rewilding Europe. That way it can regulate itself. People would also benefit from a wild nature.
18 January, 2023 by
Letting nature just take its course?
GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute

"Rewilding" is a term that only came into use a good ten years ago. But what does it actually mean? According to Frans Schepers, who was responsible for international nature conservation programmes at WWF Netherlands for a long time, it is about restoring nature on a grand scale. Schepers founded Rewilding Europe for this purpose. Nature would do most of the work by itself if humans did not intervene by mowing, logging or hunting, he says in an interview with the magazine "Enorm". "Most of the time, human intervention is only needed at the beginning to create the right conditions. For example, dikes and dams have to be removed to allow rivers to overflow their banks and create wetland biotopes such as floodplains."
The number of wildlife species in Europe has declined sharply, even in the most remote parts, he says. Some of them have even disappeared, although they fulfil an extremely important ecological role. Schepers wants to reintroduce such lost species through "rewilding". They must be given room to thrive and the populations must be strengthened. Most species do not even need support. Only animals that are crucial for the functioning of the system and that cannot come back on their own are actively reintroduced, says Schepers.

Schepers and his fellow campaigners even see a business case: Rewilding is about reconnecting a modern society - both in the countryside and in the city - with wild nature. These new, rewilded landscapes are to be developed for tourism. Furthermore, the restoration of ecosystems could become fertile ground for the development of new nature-based economies in rural areas, which can provide new livelihoods for local communities.

Learn more about Rewilding Europe and Frans Schepers at the 19th European Trend Day, which will take place at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute on 8 March 2023. On the topic of "Biophilia: When Nature Becomes the New Tech", experts will show how our understanding of nature and our relationship with it is changing. We will present new findings from research and the most exciting start-ups in the bioeconomy. Sign up now!

Share this post