I first and foremost wish to express my gratitude to our committed team members, board members, partners and donors – it is you who have enabled us to be where we are today. I am proud to share our twelve most memorable stories from 2018 with you.
We have been able to further catalyse rewilding across Europe, grow our support base, engage with new partners, invest in our rewilding areas, grow the European Rewilding Network, and work on a wide range of activities across our continent. I am sure we have all observed the continued growth of rewilding as a conservation approach in Europe. From Scotland to the Balkans, from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia, the rewilding movement is increasingly refocusing and re-energising European nature conservation.
Since the first rewilding areas came on board in 2012, we have established a strong and coherent network, investing in a wilder future for these European landscapes. You can see an overview of our most memorable stories from 2018 below.
It is a tantalising question to ask how we see ourselves developing in the mid-term – where will we be, say, in another seven years? This would take us to 2025. What exactly is our “dot on the horizon”? And how do we get there?
To address this question, we embarked on an important process in March this year. Under the title “Rewilding Europe Outlook 2025”, we started to identify our new joint ambitions for 2025. Starting with a description of how we see ourselves as one of the leading actors in the European rewilding movement, we identified three possible growth scenarios, of which we finally selected one as our optimum choice.
Having been fleshed out in fine detail, this optimum scenario was subsequently endorsed by our Supervisory Board on November 28. It represents an exciting and progressive – yet still realistic – new ambition for 2025 based on our achievements to date. Some key elements are:
- By 2025, rewilding will have become a mainstream approach for restoring natural processes and reconnecting man and wilder nature. Rewilding practice will be embedded and supported at EU and country level by specific enabling policies. In this context, Rewilding Europe will continue to play a vibrant leadership role in demonstrating grounded, innovative approaches and impact, positioned well in broader European society.
- By offering natural solutions to modern socio-economic challenges, Rewilding Europe will have achieved cooperation with numerous partners in regional planning as in water, forestry, wildlife management and other relevant sectors. These solutions will often contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation.
- The vision of Rewilding Europe will have become real, with numerous tangible results and impacts. Through pilots, especially those in carefully selected rewilding areas, rewilding models will have become showcases for replication and magnification, both geographically and across specific sectors. Rewilding enterprise principles will have become accepted, incentivising both the private and public sector.
- Rewilding areas will lie at the core of Rewilding Europe’s work, representing real and iconic places embodying our rewilding vision at a local level. They will have become successful and leading rewilding examples, distributed across Europe. Through local ownership and leadership, with a rewilding strategy and vision aligned with Rewilding Europe, they will have become self-sustainable to the fullest extent possible. In the meantime, Rewilding Europe will continue to play a role in inspiring and supporting the wider rewilding movement – all members of the ERN – as Europe’s preeminent rewilding pioneer, expert and driving force.
We look forward to realising this new ambition with all of you, and invite you to be part of it!
I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of myself and everyone at Rewilding Europe, to wish you a wild, inspirational and wonderful 2019.