Rewilding Europe: Intro

Moschus Credit Marc Steichen

Musk oxen Photo credit Marc Steichen

Europe has four times the population density of the United States.  After thousands of years of human habitation – as well as innumerable armed conflicts – Europe,  from the Arctic to Turkey,  now faces special challenges in preserving habitats, endemic species and its biodiversity.

The Netherlands’ “new wilderness” kicks off a four-part series on the varied efforts to protect and study ecosystems, fragile habitats and threatened animals and plants, as well as test ideas on how ecosystems were shaped over millennia.

Part I is actually two parts: The story of Oostvaardersplassen — a manmade ecosystem — and a Photo Gallery  of the “proxy” and wild species living in its grasslands and marshes. Don’t miss resources that include multimedia, web sites and articles.

Part II is the backstory on “rewilding” – a hypothesis that originated with US biologists. The nascent Rewilding Europe nonprofit is taking the OVP concepts wider, with five  model projects from Romania to the Iberian Peninsula. Separate Photo Gallery

Part III on the Wild Balkans is dramatically visual–the opportunity to look at ancient, wild, inaccessible, places –often called “Europe’s powder keg” for all the wars inspired or fought there. The region has vast wetlands, ancient trees, and highly threatened species such as the lynx. Featured video from PBS Nature series online here.

Part IV looks at the European Greenbelt – a consortium of 24 countries (many once behind the Iron Curtain) that form an ecological spine from Russia to Greece. This spring (2013) the Greenbelt celebrates its 10th anniversary in Berlin.

Come back to read,  look at videos and use the resources on Green News Update.


Wetland at Oostvaardersplassen (Netherlands)