Ministers urged to declare Scotland a rewilding nation

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance wants the Government to commit to nature recovery across 30% of Scotland.

Ministers have been urged to “lead the way” as figures revealed more than 2% of Scotland is now rewilding.

Campaigners from the Scottish Rewilding Alliance – a coalition of more than 20 nature organisations – want to see the Government declare Scotland as the first rewilding nation in an effort to boost conservation strategies.

The group has launched a national charter calling on ministers to commit to nature recovery across 30% of the country’s land and sea.

First-ever recorded figures by the alliance suggest 2.1% of land is now rewilding, with more than 150 projects covering at least 160,000 hectares.

However, the scale would need to be ramped up to meet the 30% target as figures from the State of Nature 2023 report showed Scotland was ranked 212 out of 240 countries and territories for the state of its nature.

Steve Micklewright, convener of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance and chief executive of Trees for Life, said: “Climate breakdown and nature loss mean we face an unprecedented threat to our way of life and our children’s future. But it’s not too late.

“Scotland can lead the way as a rewilding nation to benefit nature, climate and people.”

The group said the lack of rewilding undermines access to food, fresh water and clean air, while impacting efforts to store carbon.

The alliance has launched a campaign to encourage people to sign its charter, with a feature-length film called Why Not Scotland?.

It explores how rewilding can happen on a bigger scale in the country.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said restoring the country’s natural environment is “a key way” to fight nature loss and climate change.

The spokesperson added: “We are working hard to unlock the full potential that nature restoration projects can bring to rural communities through our £65 million nature restoration fund, which has already committed nearly £40 million since 2021.

“The fund has supported local businesses to boost nature tourism, helped landowners with pollinator projects to boost food production and supported projects that have improved access to both green spaces and our marine environment throughout Scotland.

“These projects have brought a myriad of benefits to rural communities such as creating new jobs, providing natural flood defences, and helping to support the recovery of vulnerable species, such as the wild salmon.”

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