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Domesticating Rewilding: Interpreting Rewilding in England's Green and Pleasant Land

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There are many different forms and interpretations of rewilding: the concept and its practice vary from country to country, with distinct interpretations according to its geographical location. Despite the term rewilding having been present in the lexicon for three decades, the concept of rewilding in England has experienced a prolonged developmental stage. This paper argues that a unique form of English rewilding is now emerging, which is distinct from rewilding in other parts of the world. Compared to other locations rewilding in England operates at smaller spatial scales; its ambitions to increase biodiversity, restore ecosystem functioning and increase natural autonomy are somewhat curtailed; it involves higher levels of human intervention; and, perhaps most tellingly of all, it goes by another name - 'wilding', 'wild' or 'wilder' with little mention of the much-maligned prefix 're'. This conclusion has been developed following a comparative case study of two English 'rewilding' sites (the Avalon Marshes and Wild Ennerdale) involving 49 semi-structured interviews: twelve expert interviews and nineteen and eighteen stakeholder/practitioner interviews at the Avalon Mashes and Wild Ennerdale respectively.

Keywords: Avalon Marshes; England; Wild Ennerdale; rewilding/wilding; wild/wilder

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2022

This article was made available online on October 2, 2021 as a Fast Track article with title: "Domesticating Rewilding: Interpreting Rewilding in England’s Green and Pleasant Land".

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2021) of 1.831. 5 Year Impact Factor: 2.192.
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