Rewilding Europe: Intro to Parts I-IV

Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy. Photo credit Erlend Haarberg/Wild Wonders of Europe.

Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy. Photo credit Erlend Haarberg/Wild Wonders of Europe.

In February 2013,  we started the Rewilding Europe series to acquaint readers with major conservation initiatives now underway on the continent.  Part IV of the series is now online: the European Green Belt, a 24-country initiative to create a Pan-European Ecological Network.  Access to the entire series (scroll down).

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.

Readers from two dozen countries have read the Rewilding Europe series and looked at the videos and photo galleries. Our thanks to all the photographers whose work is included in the series!

Thanks to Rewilding Europe

The Netherlands’ “new wilderness” kicks off the 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. In May 2013 the Greenbelt celebrated its 10th anniversary in Berlin.

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


Wetland at Oostvaardersplassen (Netherlands)