Rewilding might only refer to large estates, but could we apply its principles to domestic gardens? And, more importantly, should we?
At Pro Landscaper, we wanted to investigate further. Hearing from a few of the many voices enthusiastic for change and eager to share their opinions. Exploring the definition of ‘rewilding’, what is means and how these ideas can be encourages across all landscapes.
Your name: Grant Waters
Your position: Co-founder and director of Tranquil City, an environmental data organisation that looks how we can use data and engage with nature in cities to promote healthier urban environments for both people and planet.
- How would you say the work that you do links to the idea of rewilding?
We use data to try and plan for where the healthiest spots are in the city and how we can reconnect with environments that benefit nature. Doing a lot of green infrastructure mapping, looking at the quality of that green infrastructure and then studying the data to see how good it is from a restorative point of view.
How much greenery is there? What type of greenery is it? Does it include blue space? Does it include dense vegetation? How quiet is it? Does it have good air quality?
Looking at all those sorts of factors that could potentially indicate whether a space is good for you, from a wellbeing point of view and health point of view, and also looking for that nature connection.
So, from a biodiversity and rewilding point of view, we’re looking at that nature connection.
Rewilding is obviously very important part of that, where we can see how nature flourishes in its natural state, and that’s more closely connected to biodiversity or improving biodiversity.
So that’s where we use data to try and enhance and value spaces, and to look at how you can make them better primarily for people but also for nature and wildlife.
- What is your definition of rewilding?
Rewilding is, is letting nature do its thing, and realising that the things that we’ve taken away from nature in terms of culling certain species and things like that actually were helpful for the environment to an ecosystem sort of thrive in itself.
One thing whilst researching was really interesting because it’s quite an important one. There are two different generations and they have different perceptions of what a garden should look like.
If you were to leave it for a year or two, maybe an older generation might say that’s nasty and horrible. You need to prune all those trees, you need to cut everything back. Whereas maybe the younger generation seems to appreciate the ‘mess’ and understand its benefits more so.
We have to consider not just wildlife, where things are good for wildlife, but we need to manage it in a certain way. So I don’t think rewilding in its sense should just be leave it to its own devices. It’s how you start to reintroduce elements that are important for wildlife to thrive in a sustainable way. Without too much intervention. With the idea that 10, 20, 30 years down the line, we don’t need to do much to it to keep it thriving.
- Tips for garden rewilding?
Think about connectivity. It’s all well and good, promoting wildflowers and wildlife but if it’s not connected to other areas, you’re potentially limiting the benefit it can provide. The main thing is to consider how can you connect to neighbouring wildlife. On your street for example, introduce wildflowers along the gardens, connecting to the local park. Like those connections are really important. It goes beyond you know your little plot and increases the impact of what you can actually do. Allowing wildlife to travel, connecting through green corridors, that is how you connect your spaces that nature can thrive.