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Rewilding or Re-Wilding means reverting an already human-settled or at least human-changed area to status quo ante human settlement or intervention.[1]

Although the term is commonly used to describe planned activities by humans, it can (and does) happen as a result of inaction: large sections of Detroit -- which has lost a significant portion of its population in the last few decades -- have regained wildlife as houses are torn down (or collapse on their own) and not rebuilt, whereupon the natural flora and fauna reclaim the territory. (This phenomenon is prominently featured in a Discovery Channel series, Life After People, which ponders the fate of civilization after all humans disappear.)

Environmentalists today advocate this process as a means to combat climate change. Human settlement has destroyed carbon sinks and created carbon sources. This applies even to agriculture,[2] so humans must abandon agriculture and animal husbandry in large tracts of land to restore the balance between carbon dioxide emission and absorption. So environmentalist theory states.

Pilot projects

Pilot projects for rewilding are already under way in the Appenines in Italy,[3] on the grounds of one nobleman's castle in Ireland, and at nine sites in the United States of America.[4]

Furthermore, Joe Biden, now (April 2021) holding office as President of the United States, has announced an infrastructure plan that appropriates $20 trillion for removal of highways in at least two locations and reverting at least to status quo ante the building of those highways. As highway removal would be a requirement of any large-scale rewilding in the United States, these might constitute pilot projects that would facilitate the development of efficient methods of highway removal.[5]


  1. John Davis, "What is Rewilding," Rewilding Earth. <>
  2. Tristan Kennedy, "The Uncomfortable Truth About Rewilding," Vice, 4 November 2020. <>
  3. Rewilding-Appenines project site. <>
  4. Gavin Haines, "Call of Nature: 9 Rewilding Sites You Can Visit in the USA," Lonely Planet, 24 November 2019. <>
  5. Terry A. Hurlbut, "Rewilding - a dangerous strategy for social control," Conservative News and Views, 4 April 2021. <>