Rewilding as rural land management

Opportunities and constraints

Authored by: Mick Lennon

The Routledge Companion to Rural Planning

Print publication date:  January  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138104051
eBook ISBN: 9781315102375
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores the potential benefits and constraints of ‘rewilding’ as a response to the challenges posed by land abandonment in rural environments. It first explores the evolution of the concept and identifies a variety of interpretations of what rewilding means. The potential benefits and problems associated with rewilding are outlined. This supplies a platform from which to examine the opportunities for and barriers against rewilding as a policy approach for land-use management in marginalised rural areas. The chapter then employs a case study of a rewilding initiative on an extensive area of unproductive forestry land in Ireland to illustrate some of the issues that may arise when attempting to rewild rural landscapes and to highlight outstanding deficits in rewilding research. Despite these matters, the chapter concludes that rewilding should be recognised by policy-makers as one of the possible land management options available in addressing the myriad of challenges faced by marginal rural areas.

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