Rewilding will play a crucial role in avoiding mass extinctions and capturing enormous quantities of carbon.
According to a report published in the journal Nature, rewilding 15 percent of the Earth’s most degraded landscapes could avoid 60 percent of expected extinctions while sequestering 30 percent of the total CO2 increase in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. Whereas rewilding a third of these landscapes could prevent around 70 percent of predicted extinctions from happening and sequester around half of the additional CO2 pumped out by humanity since the Industrial Revolution.
The report identified key areas where interventions would be most effective and stated that there were opportunities for effective rewilding on every continent.
“We were surprised by the magnitude of what we found – the huge difference that restoration can make,” Bernardo Strassburg, the report’s lead author, told the Guardian. “Most of the priority areas are concentrated in developing countries, which can be a challenge but also means they are often more cost-effective to restore.”
The good news is that the European Commission has already adopted a new EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 - a comprehensive, ambitious, long-term plan for protecting nature and reversing the degradation of ecosystems. It aims to put Europe's biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030 with benefits for people, the climate and the planet - including transforming at least 30% of Europe's lands and seas into effectively managed protected areas.