Hundreds of people from across Britain are to be brought together under a new rewilding scheme, to help boost wildlife.
Rewilding Britain is launching the Rewilding Network, to support landowners, farmers, land managers, community groups and local authorities who are already rewilding land or looking to do so.
The charity hopes the scheme will create a rewilding snowball effect to help get nature back on track, reverse the collapse in UK wildlife and tackle the climate crisis.
There are currently 56 per cent of species in decline with 15 per cent threatened with extinction - red squirrels and pollinating insects such as the great yellow bumblebee are among threatened species, while returns or rebounds of species like beavers, sea eagles and pine martens are happening slowly.
The Rewilding Network is currently under development for a late 2020 launch and hopes to raise £25,000 though a crowdfunding appeal to cover start-up costs.
Initially, the Network will aim to accelerate and support the rewilding of at least 300,000 acres of land – an area the size of Greater Manchester or North York Moors National Park – plus marine areas within the next three years.
Rebecca Wrigley, Rewilding Britain’s chief executive, said: “We need to hit the reset button for our relationship with the natural world and rebuild our lives and economies in ways that keep nature and us healthy.
“Our Rewilding Network will help propel rewilding to a whole new level – so we can all begin to enjoy a Britain rich in wildlife again, with healthy living systems soaking up millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide, and our lives enriched by wild nature and strong resilient communities, regenerative farms and nature-friendly businesses.”
The many farms and projects liaising with Rewilding Britain include a farm in Norfolk, which is rewilding 1,000 acres – alongside managing 2,000 acres of regenerative agriculture and 500 acres of freshwater marsh – to benefit people, wildlife and the climate.
Many people are unsure how to get started with rewilding, despite an increase in numbers of people showing interest, so Rewilding Britain has been engaging with landowners in places such as Cornwall, Oxfordshire, Yorkshire and southern Scotland, to collaborate.
Restoring nature across Britain’s land and sea – including native forests and woodlands, peatlands, rivers, moorlands and saltmarshes, while boosting nature-friendly farming – can be achieved without loss of productive farmland.
Rebecca Wrigley added: “Rewilding is about letting nature do its thing and take care of itself, but it’s also about people. People lie at the heart of rewilding, and people need to choose to rewild to make it happen.
“The Rewilding Network will be Britain’s first learning and action network dedicated to supporting people who want to put rewilding into practice.”