Keynote Lecture Series: Rewilding and the Uplands

The first of the Valuing Nature Keynote Lecture Series will be given by Paul Jepson from the University of Oxford. Dr Jepson is a Senior Research Fellow at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and Course Director of the Oxford MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management.

Date: Thursday, 22nd September 2016 - 18:00 to 20:00

Venue: Defra, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR

Abstract: Britain is among the most ecologically degraded nations on Earth.  Compared to other regions of Europe, the natural assets of our uplands appear run down and less able to generate the diverse forms of value that connect upland culture and economy and wider society.  It seems that our institutions have come to accept, protect and indeed value impoverishment in nature and landscape.  Rewilding is an optimistic agenda for a better future: one that calls for investment in the restoration of natural assets and policies that work with natural processes.

In this lecture I introduced seven principles that are coming to characterise rewilding as a complementary approach to nature conservation and wider environmental management.  I outlined the trends in science and society that the principles embody and suggest that rewilding represents both an opportunity and a desire to create new natural heritage -functional ecosystem assets able to generate multiple forms of value and that will become part of the heritage of the future. If Brexit means ‘CAPexit’ I suggest that we have a once in a generation opportunity to move beyond a land-policy based on agricultural subsidies and develop a National Land Asset Policy that (alongside agriculture) provides public support for landowners wishing to invest in ecosystem land assets that generate long-term public benefit values. 



The 45 minute lecture was followed by responses from the following Panelists:

Michael Winter (Chair) Professor of Land Economy and Society, and the Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute (LEEP). Member of Valuing Nature Programme Co-ordinating Team

Julia Aglionby - Executive Director of the Foundation for Common Land.

Robin Milton - Exmoor farmer and Chair of the NFU Hill and Uplands Farming group.

Guy Duke - Member of Valuing Nature Programme Co-ordinating Team and Deputy Chair of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

Delegates participated in a Q&A session to round off the evening.