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Environmental Values

The Many Meanings of Rewilding: An Introduction and the Case for a Broad Conceptualisation

Andrea R. Gammon

Environmental Values 27 (2018): 331-350. doi: 10.3197/096327118X15251686827705

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In this paper, I (1) offer a general introduction of rewilding and (2) situate the concept in environmental philosophy. In the first part of the paper, I work from definitions and typologies of rewilding that have been put forth in the academic literature. To these, I add secondary notions of rewilding from outside the scientific literature that are pertinent to the meanings and motivations of rewilding beyond its use in a scientific context. I defend the continued use of rewilding as a single term, despite its seemingly disparate usages, and I advance a clustered concept of eight overlapping characteristics as a way to conceptualise these. I argue that this breadth helps in understanding the wider interest in rewilding as an emerging environmental phenomenon. In the paper's second part, I turn to three key issues in environmental philosophy in order to connect rewilding with the historic themes of: (1) the exclusion of humans from wild or wilderness places, (2) the ontological purity of wilderness areas through their non-human origins and history, and (3) cultural landscapes and notions of place. I suggest that rewilding carries on some of the main themes of the wilderness debate, but considering rewilding broadly allows tensions and novel questions to manifest that are important to how rewilding should be discussed and understood going forward.


Rewilding, meaning, cluster concept, ecological restoration, wilderness

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Ecological Restoration Restored.Robert L. Chapman

Contact! Contact! Nature Preservation as the Preservation of Meaning. Glenn Deliège

Wildness as a Critical Border Concept: Nietzsche and the Debate on Wilderness Restoration. Martin Drenthen

Ecological Restoration and Place Attachment: Emplacing Non-Places?.Martin Drenthen

The Rights of Animals and the Demands of Nature. Dale Jamieson

Future Directions for Conservation. Jozef Keulartz

Rethinking the Relations of Nature, Culture and Agency. Patrick D. Murphy

Environmental Aesthetics and Rewilding. Jonathan Prior, Emily Brady

Strangers in a Strange Land: The Problem of Exotic Species Mark Woods and Paul Veatch Moriarty

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Rewilding in Cultural Layered Landscapes. Martin Drenthen

Rewilding in Layered Landscapes as a Challenge to Place Identity. Martin Drenthen

Restoring or Re-storying the Lake District: Applying Responsive Cohesion to a Current Problem Situation. Isis Brook

How Knowledge of the Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) is Formed: Report from the Danube Delta. Mihnea Tănăsescu, Ștefan Constantinescu

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