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Ecological consequences and opportunities of rewilding in a European anthropogenic context

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Ecological consequences and opportunities of rewilding in a European anthropogenic context. / Pedersen, Pil Birkefeldt Møller.

Aarhus universitet, 2018. 215 s.

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandlingForskning

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@phdthesis{5170e7940895479cb8521079c8333d21,
title = "Ecological consequences and opportunities of rewilding in a European anthropogenic context",
abstract = "Rewilding is a relatively new ecological restoration strategy providing an alternative to the establishedconservation strategies as it aims to restore ecological processes to promote ecosystems that maintainbiodiversity with little or no human intervention. Rewilding initiatives are emerging across Europe and covera diverse set of conservation initiatives. Despite the increasing number of rewilding initiatives, scientificevidence of the ecological consequences is rare, which inspired my PhD.Based on a thorough evaluation and synthesis of the rewilding literature, we find in Paper Ithat trophic cascades may be restored through species reintroductions and ecological replacements. Wetherefore propose the concept of trophic rewilding. Further, we learn that the empirical research on rewildingis scarce, fragmented and geographically biased and that opinionated literature is dominating. Mapping thecurrent megafauna deficit suggests that rewilding has a global relevancy. Consequently, we highlight theneed for: 1) applied rewilding programs including scientific evaluation, 2) research on trophic complexityand anthropogenic effects and 3) developing a framework for species selection.From surveys of opinions and rewilding-inspired initiatives in Denmark, we find in Paper IIthat existing rewilding-inspired initiatives are diverse, that the majority of people engaged in Danish naturemanagement wish to implement rewilding despite the highly anthropogenic context and that scientists andmanagers largely agree on most rewilding issues. We learned about potential rewilding areas, potentialrewilding species and challenges for implementing rewilding. We also identified an urgent need to providemanagers with more information on what rewilding encompasses and how it can be operationalized.In Paper III, we have developed a conceptual framework called TRAAIL - TrophicRewilding Advancement in Anthropogenic Impacted Landscapes, enabling practitioners to categorizeexisting rewilding initiatives while also providing suggestions for possible management interventions inorder to obtain a higher degree of self-regulation. By applying TRAAIL, we find that rewilding-inspiredefforts are moderately implemented in Danish conservation management- a surprisingly high degree.Based on observational studies, we report in Paper IV that the European bison herdreintroduced to Vorup meadows had comparable diurnal activity patterns as reported for free-roaming bisonherds in the Bialowieza Forest. Further, we find that bison primarily use the high-lying drier areas and haveno preference for open areas over tree covered areas, but spent significantly more time in the release areathan in the meadow. We therefore conclude that bison behave “naturally” but that the setup of the releasearea and the management protocols accomplished here seem to compromise the conservation goals.In Paper V, we find that the different habitats in the bison enclosure become more meadowlikeover time and that establishing new species were significantly more moisture-tolerant than thedisappearing species. We also find that the unmown part of the meadow was characterized by heterogenousvegetation structure, whereas the vegetation in the mown part was short and homogenous. Further, we findindications that European bison might reduce woody encroachment and promote forbs.",
author = "Pedersen, {Pil Birkefeldt M{\o}ller}",
year = "2018",
month = oct,
language = "English",
publisher = "Aarhus universitet",

}

RIS

TY - BOOK

T1 - Ecological consequences and opportunities of rewilding in a European anthropogenic context

AU - Pedersen, Pil Birkefeldt Møller

PY - 2018/10

Y1 - 2018/10

N2 - Rewilding is a relatively new ecological restoration strategy providing an alternative to the establishedconservation strategies as it aims to restore ecological processes to promote ecosystems that maintainbiodiversity with little or no human intervention. Rewilding initiatives are emerging across Europe and covera diverse set of conservation initiatives. Despite the increasing number of rewilding initiatives, scientificevidence of the ecological consequences is rare, which inspired my PhD.Based on a thorough evaluation and synthesis of the rewilding literature, we find in Paper Ithat trophic cascades may be restored through species reintroductions and ecological replacements. Wetherefore propose the concept of trophic rewilding. Further, we learn that the empirical research on rewildingis scarce, fragmented and geographically biased and that opinionated literature is dominating. Mapping thecurrent megafauna deficit suggests that rewilding has a global relevancy. Consequently, we highlight theneed for: 1) applied rewilding programs including scientific evaluation, 2) research on trophic complexityand anthropogenic effects and 3) developing a framework for species selection.From surveys of opinions and rewilding-inspired initiatives in Denmark, we find in Paper IIthat existing rewilding-inspired initiatives are diverse, that the majority of people engaged in Danish naturemanagement wish to implement rewilding despite the highly anthropogenic context and that scientists andmanagers largely agree on most rewilding issues. We learned about potential rewilding areas, potentialrewilding species and challenges for implementing rewilding. We also identified an urgent need to providemanagers with more information on what rewilding encompasses and how it can be operationalized.In Paper III, we have developed a conceptual framework called TRAAIL - TrophicRewilding Advancement in Anthropogenic Impacted Landscapes, enabling practitioners to categorizeexisting rewilding initiatives while also providing suggestions for possible management interventions inorder to obtain a higher degree of self-regulation. By applying TRAAIL, we find that rewilding-inspiredefforts are moderately implemented in Danish conservation management- a surprisingly high degree.Based on observational studies, we report in Paper IV that the European bison herdreintroduced to Vorup meadows had comparable diurnal activity patterns as reported for free-roaming bisonherds in the Bialowieza Forest. Further, we find that bison primarily use the high-lying drier areas and haveno preference for open areas over tree covered areas, but spent significantly more time in the release areathan in the meadow. We therefore conclude that bison behave “naturally” but that the setup of the releasearea and the management protocols accomplished here seem to compromise the conservation goals.In Paper V, we find that the different habitats in the bison enclosure become more meadowlikeover time and that establishing new species were significantly more moisture-tolerant than thedisappearing species. We also find that the unmown part of the meadow was characterized by heterogenousvegetation structure, whereas the vegetation in the mown part was short and homogenous. Further, we findindications that European bison might reduce woody encroachment and promote forbs.

AB - Rewilding is a relatively new ecological restoration strategy providing an alternative to the establishedconservation strategies as it aims to restore ecological processes to promote ecosystems that maintainbiodiversity with little or no human intervention. Rewilding initiatives are emerging across Europe and covera diverse set of conservation initiatives. Despite the increasing number of rewilding initiatives, scientificevidence of the ecological consequences is rare, which inspired my PhD.Based on a thorough evaluation and synthesis of the rewilding literature, we find in Paper Ithat trophic cascades may be restored through species reintroductions and ecological replacements. Wetherefore propose the concept of trophic rewilding. Further, we learn that the empirical research on rewildingis scarce, fragmented and geographically biased and that opinionated literature is dominating. Mapping thecurrent megafauna deficit suggests that rewilding has a global relevancy. Consequently, we highlight theneed for: 1) applied rewilding programs including scientific evaluation, 2) research on trophic complexityand anthropogenic effects and 3) developing a framework for species selection.From surveys of opinions and rewilding-inspired initiatives in Denmark, we find in Paper IIthat existing rewilding-inspired initiatives are diverse, that the majority of people engaged in Danish naturemanagement wish to implement rewilding despite the highly anthropogenic context and that scientists andmanagers largely agree on most rewilding issues. We learned about potential rewilding areas, potentialrewilding species and challenges for implementing rewilding. We also identified an urgent need to providemanagers with more information on what rewilding encompasses and how it can be operationalized.In Paper III, we have developed a conceptual framework called TRAAIL - TrophicRewilding Advancement in Anthropogenic Impacted Landscapes, enabling practitioners to categorizeexisting rewilding initiatives while also providing suggestions for possible management interventions inorder to obtain a higher degree of self-regulation. By applying TRAAIL, we find that rewilding-inspiredefforts are moderately implemented in Danish conservation management- a surprisingly high degree.Based on observational studies, we report in Paper IV that the European bison herdreintroduced to Vorup meadows had comparable diurnal activity patterns as reported for free-roaming bisonherds in the Bialowieza Forest. Further, we find that bison primarily use the high-lying drier areas and haveno preference for open areas over tree covered areas, but spent significantly more time in the release areathan in the meadow. We therefore conclude that bison behave “naturally” but that the setup of the releasearea and the management protocols accomplished here seem to compromise the conservation goals.In Paper V, we find that the different habitats in the bison enclosure become more meadowlikeover time and that establishing new species were significantly more moisture-tolerant than thedisappearing species. We also find that the unmown part of the meadow was characterized by heterogenousvegetation structure, whereas the vegetation in the mown part was short and homogenous. Further, we findindications that European bison might reduce woody encroachment and promote forbs.

M3 - Ph.D. thesis

BT - Ecological consequences and opportunities of rewilding in a European anthropogenic context

PB - Aarhus universitet

ER -