To its most dedicated converts, rewilding is nothing short of an ecological panacea. Broadly defined as the restoration of ecosystems through the introduction of wild animals, allowing nature to take care of itself, rewilding is heralded by many as a solution to habitat loss, the collapse of biodiversity and even climate change. To its detractors, it poses a grave threat to cultural heritage and rural livelihoods worldwide.

Public interest has been sparked in recent decades by large-scale and controversial schemes, including the Oostvaardersplassen in the Netherlands and Yellowstone National Park, as well as first-person narratives such as Isabella Tree’s best-selling Wilding. In Rewilding, Paul Jepson and Cain Blythe present a more succinct and objective account — tracing the theory from its origins in the 1980s and 1990s to the political and ethical implications of its application nowadays — but it is no less compelling.

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