Wild Things: a new buzzword to add to our nature vocabulary

Our Wild Things columnist Eric Brown highlights a new book identifying vital species ripe for reintroduction to Britain and explaining exactly why we should welcome them all back.

From time to time, nature produces new buzzwords like eggs hatching under the future mother birds. Examples such as conservation ecology and biodiversity would have been relatively unknown until recent decades. Now nature’s new buzzword is rewilding.

Isabella Tree’s groundbreaking 2018 book, Wilding, spawned a flood of follow-up publications aimed at examining and expanding on her pioneering ideas.

Wild Things: the worst year ever for the number of butterflies

Isabella’s best-selling opus depicts the gamble taken when she and husband Charlie Burrell let their struggling Sussex farm run wild in controversial fashion. Birds and animals flourished as the land returned to near its natural state. Rare birds such as nightingales, doves and white storks have thrived with the purple emperor butterfly while specially introduced animals like pigs and horses have returned the earth to what it might have been hundreds of years ago. ‘years.

Now author Benedict Macdonald takes it a step further by exploring which animals extinct in Britain could be successfully reintroduced in a future where rewilding is widely accepted. Macdonald already dabbled in this in his earlier book Rebirding, which won an award for writing about global conservation.

Wimbledon Times: Cornerstones: Wild forces that can change our world by Benedict Macdonald is published by Bloomsbury Wildlife (Hardcover: £17.99)Cornerstones: Wild forces that can change our world by Benedict Macdonald is published by Bloomsbury Wildlife (Hardcover: £17.99)

Its latest offering, Cornerstones, explains why there’s even more room for newly returned beavers and boars. He identifies other key species, or cornerstones, such as lynx, wolves, bees, whales, cattle and horses, which he sees as wild forces capable of changing our world.

The UK is already one of the poorest wildlife countries in the world and natural history filmmaker Macdonald is a strong supporter of measures to bring lost animals back to our countryside.

He makes a strong case for the reintroduction of wolves, but admits their predatory instincts may be too acute for the immediate human acceptance that enabled their return to France.

The same goes for lions, while elephants no longer have a place to exist here, mainly because of our burgeoning human population.

Wild Things: Lobby your kid’s school for nature lessons

Lynx, however, might be another matter according to Macdonald. He thinks these feral cats could be back on our landscape within a decade if people focus on the benefits of such a move. The UK is overrun with deer because humans have wiped out all their predators. Deer browsing destroys young trees on which some birds and insects depend and which can prevent flooding. This leads to denudation of large areas such as those in Scotland which should be forested. The lynx feeds on deer and could help restore the natural balance.

Macdonald’s other theories are carefully described and convincingly argued. Perhaps he added another buzzword to nature’s vocabulary by drawing attention to the cornerstones.

Cornerstones by Benedict Macdonald is published by Bloomsbury for £17.99

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: