What is nature recovery?

What is nature recovery?

The term ‘rewilding’ has exploded in popularity over the past few years, with naturalists such as David Attenborough and Chris Packham being just two examples of advocates popularising the term. But what does it mean?

Rewilding is the process of allowing land to return to its natural or wild state. It usually involves establishing animals that mimic the action of species that existed before farming, such as wild cattle, deer and wild boar into an area and allowing nature to take its course with minimum intervention from us.

This can be difficult to achieve as it needs a lot of space. However, it can form part of a suite of techniques that together with more traditional approaches can help nature recover in Hampshire. Nature recovery is all about how we restore habitats, protect wildlife and combat climate change through collective action.

What is nature recovery?

Nature recovery is about building resilient landscapes for the future through natural restoration. It looks at where healthy wildlife habitats already exist, how they can be improved and made bigger and how they can be connected to produce a more resilient landscape using nature-based solutions that introduce natural processes to help reduce the carbon in the atmosphere.

Communities and local people are vital to the success of nature recovery. Local landowners and farmers can make a significant difference if they work together to better connect habitats and wildlife.

What is the difference between nature recovery and rewilding?

Rewilding in some form will undoubtedly be part of how we help nature recover, and there may well be a degree of the “wilder” approach used alongside woodland planting, restoring flower-rich grassland, natural flood management and increasing pollinators. Nature recovery prioritises the connection of vast land areas through a wider Nature Recovery Network (NRN).

Through these multiple approaches, the NRN aims to increase the size of wildlife rich habitats and encourage the recovery of wider landscapes through nature-based solutions.

What is a Nature Recovery Network (NRN)?

This network will play a major role in ensuring that nature recovery is successful. It is backed by the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and looks to bring different partners, legislation, and funding together to give land across the country the best chance to recover.

An example of this in Hampshire is the Martin Down ‘Supercluster,’ a group of farms working together to restore declining wildlife and create habitat links as a way of reconnecting wildlife-rich areas through corridors. The three farmer clusters together create the ‘supercluster’ and between them aim to protect and enhance the iconic and threatened wildlife of the areas around Martin Down National Nature Reserve near Fordingbridge.

What is the Hampshire Countryside Service doing to aid nature recovery?

While many aspects of nature recovery have formed a key part of our strategy for several years, the work we do is becoming even more focused in this area, involving projects and plans that put nature recovery at the heart of our service’s mission to preserve Hampshire’s countryside.

These include:

  • Investing £0.5m into tree planting
  • Working with farm clusters and landscape partnerships
  • Delivering pollinator projects to schools and parish councils
  • Committing funding towards the alleviation of Ash dieback in the county


How can I contribute to nature recovery?

Nature recovery is a community effort, which means that everyone has a role to play in making it a reality. The key is to connect habitats: you can talk to your neighbours about creating a ‘hedgehog highway’ in your gardens by cutting out a hole in your fences, or work on making your green space a haven for wildlife by planting shrubs, trees or climbing plants. This will provide habitats for wildlife and ways for them to make their way in and out of your garden. You can also check to see what your local nature reserves are working on and ask them if there is anything you can do to help.

We would love to find out how you’re helping aid nature recovery. Keep updated with our nature recovery work on our social media by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

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