I live on the South Downs and the biodiversity is so depleted it is a disaster as a result of intensive farming and grazing. Go down into the Weald and walk through the Knepp estate, and the biodiversity is astounding.
Knepp have worked and continue to work with various universities on the project, and have been awarded numerous conservation awards for outstanding landscape restoration.
Using Knepp as a model Queen Mary university are launching more re-wilding projects throughout the country. Self sustaining ecosystems will go towards helping biodiversity to recover, and later the reintroduction of natural species that were killed off because of this depleted landscape.
My DS has been involved in assisting the university with data collection using LiDAR. It shows the extent of vegetative growth, and how woodland and scrubland has expanded from 23% to 42%. This provides habitat and food for local species, helps prevent flooding and certainly enhances the beauty of the area.
Dismissing the idea as some sort of Arcadian dream is unfortunate and entirely misunderstanding the project.
Dr Alex Henshaw, Reader in Physical Geography at Queen Mary University of London said: “This project will be incredibly useful for understanding the form and function of the vast range of habitats that have regenerated at Knepp Wildland and other rewilding sites. We can already see an environment that has gone from strength to strength, where animals and plant species can thrive. We now have the data and methods needed to fully explore the important contributions of projects like Knepp.
“The dataset is also an important resource for rewilding sites across England, offering a blueprint for capturing the data and information they need to understand and evaluate rewilding directions and outcomes.
“With a huge number of species in England in decline, rewilding is arguably more important than ever.”