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Natural landscapes?

Regardless of whether we are dealing with a floodplain landscape or an entire national park, the success of a restoration project depends on more than just the reintroduction of individual plant or animal species into an area. An international team of researchers led by Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig with participation of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) reveals it is more a matter of helping the damaged ecosystem to regenerate and sustain itself. In the current issue of the journal “Science” the researchers describe how rewilding measures can be better planned and implemented - and the benefits this can have on humans.

In their article in “Science”, the researchers present a type of blueprint on how to plan and carry out rewilding projects. Above all, they call for a shift in perspective: there is no one ideal ecosystem that can be created through specific measures. Instead, it is much more important to examine the functions of the respective ecosystem, analyse the disturbances in this system and derive a range of measures to restore the processes that have been disrupted, while at the same time minimizing human intervention. In a floodplain landscape, for example, this could be achieved by removing dams that are no longer needed, thereby submerging at least part of the landscape. This could create a habitat for animals and plants that were previously displaced by humans.


Perino A. et al. Rewilding complex ecosystems, Science (2019). DOI: 10.1126/science.aav5570

Link to the study