Hope and caution: rewilding to mitigate the impacts of biological invasions

Tristan T. Derham, Richard P. Duncan, Christopher N. Johnson, Menna E. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
61 Downloads (Pure)


Rewilding is a novel approach to ecological restoration. Trophic rewilding in particular aims to reinstate ecological functions, especially trophic interactions, through the introduction of animals. We consider the potential for trophic rewilding to address biological invasions. In this broad review, we note some of the important conceptual and ethical foundations of rewilding, including a focus on ecosystem function rather than composition, reliance on animal agency, and an appeal to an ethic of coexistence. Second, we use theory from invasion biology to highlight pathways by which rewilding might prevent or mitigate the impacts of an invasion, including increasing biotic resistance. Third, we use a series of case studies to illustrate how reintroductions can mitigate the impacts of invasions. These include reintroductions and positive management of carnivores and herbivores including European pine martens (Martes martes), Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra), dingoes (Canis dingo), Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) and tule elk (Cervus canadensis nannodes). Fourth, we consider the risk that rewilding may enable a biological invasion or aggravate its impacts. Lastly, we highlight lessons that rewilding science might take from invasion biology.This article is part of the theme issue 'Trophic rewilding: consequences for ecosystems under global change'.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20180127
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPhilosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
Issue number1761
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2018


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