A charity is launching a fund to tackle the nature and climate crises, awarding £100,000 to one large-scale rewilding project every year.
The Rewilding Challenge Fund has been set up to support innovative and pioneering initiatives to upscale rewilding on land and sea, said Rewilding Britain, the charity behind the scheme.
The fund has been launched ahead of a major UN nature summit, Cop15 in Montreal next week, where countries are under pressure to agree a deal to halt and reverse declines in nature by 2030, protect 30% of the world’s land and seas, stop species extinctions and restore vast areas of natural habitat.
Rewilding is the large-scale restoration of nature to the point it can take care of itself, and involves reinstating natural processes and, where appropriate, missing native species such as beavers.
Rewilding Britain says rewilding can help Britain reverse nature losses and meet targets to tackle climate change, alongside providing economic opportunities such as sustainable food production and eco-tourism.
The charity’s rewilding network includes almost 900 members looking after more than 113,000 hectares of land and more than 300 square kilometres of sea, it said.
It wants to see major nature recovery across 30% of Britain’s land and seas by 2030, including core rewilding areas of woodlands, peatlands, grasslands, wetlands, rivers and coasts across 5% of the country, with no loss of productive farmland.
Conservationists recently estimated that in England, some 3.22% of land and 8% of marine habitats were properly protected for nature.
Sara King, rewilding manager at Rewilding Britain, said: “We are absolutely delighted to launch the Rewilding Challenge Fund under the heading ‘think big, act wild’.
“We’re looking to scale-up rewilding – a vital step if Britain is to achieve the goal of major nature restoration across 30% of the country’s land and seas by 2030.
“We’re really keen to hear from community groups who can join together to bid for ambitious, large-scale rewilding projects, as well as from the managers and users of large areas of land and sea.”