Ecological restoration and rewilding: two approaches with complementary goals?

Mutillod, Clémentine; Buisson, Élise; Mahy, Gregory; Jaunatre, Renaud; Bullock, James M. ORCID:; Tatin, Laurent; Dutoit, Thierry. 2024 Ecological restoration and rewilding: two approaches with complementary goals? Biological Reviews.

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Biological Reviews - 2024 - Mutillod - Ecological restoration and rewilding two approaches with complementary goals.pdf - Published Version
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As we enter the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030) and address the urgent need to protect and restore ecosystems and their ecological functions at large scales, rewilding has been brought into the limelight. Interest in this discipline is thus increasing, with a large number of conceptual scientific papers published in recent years. Increasing enthusiasm has led to discussions and debates in the scientific community about the differences between ecological restoration and rewilding. The main goal of this review is to compare and clarify the position of each field. Our results show that despite some differences (e.g. top-down versus bottom-up and functional versus taxonomic approaches) and notably with distinct goals – recovery of a defined historically determined target ecosystem versus recovery of natural processes with often no target endpoint – ecological restoration and rewilding have a common scope: the recovery of ecosystems following anthropogenic degradation. The goals of ecological restoration and rewilding have expanded with the progress of each field. However, it is unclear whether there is a paradigm shift with ecological restoration moving towards rewilding or vice versa. We underline the complementarity in time and in space of ecological restoration and rewilding. To conclude, we argue that reconciliation of these two fields of nature conservation to ensure complementarity could create a synergy to achieve their common scope.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1464-7931
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: conservation biology, ecosystem function, ecosystem engineer, paradigm, restorative activities
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 16 Feb 2024 11:43 +0 (UTC)

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