Urban Wilderness in Central Europe: Rewilding At The Urban Fringe

By: Matthias Diemer, Martin Held, and Sabine Hofmeister

In this article the authors aim to explore the lack of wilderness in central Europe, and how they might be able to improve, and increase the number of wilderness areas throughout the region. To reestablish natural resources, the best solution would be re-wilding, since management has been terminated. Although re-wilding seems like it would be a simple and gratifying method, it has actually fallen victim to major controversy. The landscapes of central Europe were constructed by the ideologies of the old traditional management regimes, however due to urban development, and anthropogenic impacts those habitats have been destroyed or severely harmed. The simple solution would be to just re-wild the area, but that can lead to many consequences. In most environments, this process will result in secondary succession toward wilderness, and in some cases the outcome might be the disappearance of certain types of habitats, and therefore lead to the reduction of overall biodiversity. Thus, re-wilding urban areas are the cause of great debate among natural resource professionals, conservationists, and the general public. The re- wilding strategy brings to light how human demands are weighed against ecological objectives, such as biodiversity, and the maintenance of natural resources, as well as legal constraints, such as maintenance of roads, public safety issues, and hunting access. When all of those factors are balanced, the authors expect that public acceptance will follow once the dynamic properties of ecosystems are understood and appreciated.

This article provides a lot of insight, and information when thinking about re-wilding urban areas. I would think with no hesitation that people would be on board with greening their community by re-wilding it, but I have come to learn that that is not always the case causing disagreements among people outside of the environmental field. The first step to managing wildlife in an urban setting is deciding exactly where one wants to complete the process. For example tackling this mission will result in different approaches if one is talking about a park, empty parking lot, or apartment complex. The specific area matters because it would have a lot of implications as to how hard it would be to get public support. After the area has been identified the next part of the procedure would have to be to weigh out all of the other factors that come into play such as human demands, the ecological objectives, and legal constraints. Once that is balanced the public should be on board, and the operation is ready to proceed.

– Alejandro Vinueza

Skip to toolbar