Rebirding takes the long view of Britain’s wildlife decline, from the early taming of our landscape and its long-lost elephants and rhinos, to fenland drainage, and the removal of cornerstone species such as wild cattle, horses, beavers and boar. Forward in time, it also covers the intensification of our modern landscapes and the collapse of invertebrate populations.
It looks at key reasons why species are vanishing, as our landscapes become ever more tamed and less diverse, with wildlife trapped in tiny pockets of habitat. It explores how Britain has, uniquely, relied on modifying farmland, rather than restoring ecosystems, in a failing attempt to halt wildlife decline.
The irony is that 94 percent of Britain is not built upon at all. And with more nature-loving voices than any European country, we should, in fact, have the best, not the most impoverished, wildlife in our continent. Especially when the rural economics of our game estates and upland farms are among the worst in Europe.
Britain is blessed with all the space it needs for an epic wildlife recovery. The deer estates of the Scottish Highlands are twice the size of Yellowstone National Park. Snowdonia is larger than the Maasai Mara. The problem in Britain is not a lack of space. It is that our precious space is uniquely wasted - not only for wildlife, but for people’s jobs and rural futures, too.
Rebirding maps out how we might finally turn things around: rewilding national parks, restoring natural ecosystems, and allowing our wildlife a far richer future. In doing so, an entirely new sector of rural jobs would be created, finally bringing Britain’s dying rural landscapes and failing economies back to life.
Praise for the book:
“This is a wonderful book, visionary, illuminating and fascinating.” (George Monbiot, author and environmental activist)
"A wonderfully imaginative book, which shows how things could be with our rapidly declining areas of countryside, instead of how - despairingly - they are now." (Rod Liddle, The Spectator)