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Climate-smart rewilding: ecological restoration for climate change mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity support in Europe

Project description

Nature-based solution for the climate-biodiversity nexus

Restoring natural processes and ecological communities is difficult but not impossible. Rewilding is one solution. This approach to land management involves removing human-made structures and allowing ecosystems to evolve without human intervention. In this context, the EU-funded wildE project will use a two-tier approach of local case studies and European-scale research to develop climate-smart rewilding as a nature-based solution to address the climate-biodiversity nexus. This will bring together experts from the environmental sciences, social sciences and economy to work on comparative data on rewilding trends and outcomes. wildE will also develop future land-use and climate-change projections, and create decision-support and management guidelines for policymakers, conservation managers, communities and the private sector.


The European Union aims to reduce net carbon emissions by 55% in 2030, and become climate neutral by 2050. These goals can only be met if it boosts carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems, preferably while fostering socio-environmental co-benefits such as conserving biodiversity, adapting to climate change, and safeguarding socio-economic and cultural values. Both the IPCC and the IPBES have emphasised the great potential of ecosystem restoration and related nature-based solutions (NbS) for addressing the challenge.
wildE introduces ‘climate-smart rewilding’ as an innovative restoration approach to create climate benefits while also addressing other socio-environmental needs. The project gathers a multi-disciplinary team of leading European experts to develop a research and innovation programme addressing the climate-biodiversity nexus in tight association with the socio-economic dimension of large-scale restoration. The team will also project scenarios to assess Europe’s rewilding potentials under diverse land-use and climate change futures.
wildE will (i) generate comprehensive case-comparative data on European rewilding trends and outcomes, (ii) quantify the net social, economic and environmental benefits, synergies and trade-offs related to rewilding and alternative land-use options; (iii) develop cutting-edge projections for future land use and climate scenarios; and (iv) develop tangible and readily accessible decision-support and management guidelines to enable policymakers, conservation managers, communities, and the private sector to co-construct climate-smart rewilding strategies as effective NbS for meeting the EU’s climate and biodiversity targets. Embedded within an ambitious stakeholder engagement, communications programme, wildE research will enable climate-smart rewilding as operational large-scale NbS to effectively foster the natural capacity of Europe’s ecosystems for climate change mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity support.


Net EU contribution
€ 811 876,25
75007 Paris

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 811 876,25

Participants (21)