Across the world, stories of ‘rewilding’ efforts are everywhere: Rewilding the Boise River is a Labor of Love. And, Rewilding Endangered Baby Zebra Sharks. And, Sydney’s New Rewilding Site Welcomes Back Locally-Extinct Species.
But – what is rewilding?
In (very brief) summary, rewilding is a conservation strategy to repair and restore wild spaces, often by reducing invasive species and reintroducing native species. It’s not only about protecting nature, it’s about rehabilitating it.
This could look like bringing native deer back into a landscape to aid in natural grazing which limits the effects of wildfires, or rewetting drained and damaged peatlands to aid in flood and drought mitigation.
Rewild, photo credit Jonathan Young
Rewilding approaches such as these also revive habitats for local species, and aid in food web restoration. For instance, the deer manage the growth of the plants, optimizing conditions for native bird species to feed and breed; the deer also provide a food source to native predators and scavengers. It’s about promoting and supporting the natural rhythms of the wild.
The idea is that by bringing more of the ‘wild’ back to the ‘wilderness,’ ecosystems have a better chance of balancing out. And balanced ecosystems are healthier ecosystems, better able to preserve or even boost an area’s biodiversity – a win all around.
Grazing Deer, photo credit Brett Sayles
One of the priorities of Project Manaia is to repair and restore seagrass meadows across the Mediterranean through mapping and replanting native seagrass, such as Posidonia oceanica. Otherwise known as Neptune Grass, Posidonia oceanica is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea and provides a wide variety of species with an ideal habitat for feeding, breeding, and protection.
These seagrass meadows also protect the sandy coastline against erosion, and “can soak up 15 times more carbon dioxide every year than a similar sized piece of the Amazon rainforest” (BBC). Oh, and because of its ability to clone itself, it’s considered one of the longest-living organisms on the planet. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of years. It’s a pretty impressive plant and it has a pretty big role to play.
So how can you support Project Manaia’s efforts to repair and restore seagrass meadows? Come aboard! The team is always on the lookout for people eager to join in marine research projects. Can’t come aboard? Become a citizen scientist, and help the team by submitting your sightings of sea grass to include in their mapping project.
Curious about how you can ‘rewild’ wherever you are? Prioritize native plants. Just as Neptune Grass is perfectly suited to its native environment, the native plants in your area are perfectly suited to be there. They’re the best at providing food and shelter for native wildlife, and for working alongside the rest of the ecosystem to create balance and promote biodiversity. Want healthier ecosystems, from the soil to the birdsong? Plant native.
Native Pollinators, photo credit Skyler Ewing
This has been a very brief overview of rewilding, a snippet really. To learn more, check these out:
Helpful Website: Rewilding Europe
Helpful Podcast: The Rewild Podcast
Helpful Two-Minute Clip: Rewilding Chili & Rewilding Argentina
Upcoming Documentary: Wild Life
Helpful Book to Read with Your Kids: Rewilding: Bringing Wildlife Back Where It Belongs
Helpful Accounts to Follow on Social Media:
And of course: Project Manaia
Written by Jamie Berg
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