“Rewilding” cities by creating natural corridors could protect humanity from climate change

“Rewilding” cities by creating natural corridors and wild spaces could protect humanity from the worst impacts of climate changesuggests a new report.

The study by the international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) claims that restoring biodiversity could boost wildlife and protect city dwellers from heat waves, wildfires and floods.

Rewilding is a way to restore nature and biodiversity to an area by letting nature take care of itself, reviving natural processes.

This could include less management and wilder areas in parks, cemeteries and along train tracks, and letting nature take over old industrial sites.

Rivers could be removed from the culverts they were buried in or allowed to be carpeted with vegetation while barriers that stop fish movement could be removed.

Residents can even do their part, leaving some of their own gardens wild and avoiding artificial lawns and pesticides.

Rewilding is a way to restore nature and biodiversity to an area by letting nature take care of itself, reviving natural processes. Foxes are already commonplace in our cities

Study says restoring biodiversity could boost wildlife and protect city dwellers from heat waves, wildfires and floods

Study says restoring biodiversity could boost wildlife and protect city dwellers from heat waves, wildfires and floods

Giving more freedom to nature in our cities could help stimulate urban wildlife through the creation of habitats.  Pictured: sleeping dormouse

Giving more freedom to nature in our cities could help stimulate urban wildlife through the creation of habitats. Pictured: sleeping dormouse

Government rewilding program will lead to ‘sharp rise’ in food prices, farmers warn

Britons could face a ‘sharp rise’ in food prices and shortages due to an overhaul of payments to farmers, a Commons committee warned in January.

Government plans to reward farmers for environmental protection are based on “blind optimism” and could leave the country entirely dependent on imports.

The National Farming Union is also increasingly concerned about Britain’s food security, warning that changing farmland use will harm the UK’s self-sufficiency and lead to increased imports.

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“Wildfires, floods and heat waves across the world have brought the climate crisis to the forefront for many people this year,” said lead author and climate and biodiversity expert Dr Nathalie Pettorelli. ZSL Institute of Zoology.

“The interconnection of the climate crisis with the loss of nature is fortunately now widely recognized and reseeding is an increasingly adopted approach.”

Habitat creation and urban wildlife are crucial in the fight against climate change, as they help protect, enhance and restore habitats.

This year, Eurasian beavers have been reintroduced to a wooded enclosure in Enfield, north London, after being absent for 400 years.

The furry additions are intended to help restore natural habitats and even reduce the risk of flooding in the city.

While foxes are a common site in our cities, other animals have made unexpected appearances.

Two species of seahorses and hundreds of seals now inhabit the Thames.

In 2019, the Zoological Society of London counted 932 harbor seals and 3,243 gray seals in the water.

And bison have just been reintroduced to the woods of Kent, where they have been absent for 6,000 years.

“Giving more freedom to nature in our cities could not only help protect them against extreme weather events such as storms, floods and heat waves, by helping to cool them and create natural defenses against flooding , but also to stimulate urban wildlife through the creation of habitats,’ said Dr Pettorelli.

Two species of seahorses and hundreds of seals now inhabit the Thames.  Pictured: Seahorse in the Thames measured by the ZSL Conservation Team

Two species of seahorses and hundreds of seals now inhabit the Thames. Pictured: Seahorse in the Thames measured by the ZSL Conservation Team

In 2019, the Zoological Society of London counted 932 harbor seals and 3,243 gray seals in the water

In 2019, the Zoological Society of London counted 932 harbor seals and 3,243 gray seals in the water

RESULTS OF THE “CLIMATE CHANGE” REPORT

A new report from The Wildlife Trusts predicts that, by the 2050s and on a future trajectory of warming reaching 5.4°F (3°C) by 2100:

  • 94% of the trusts’ 2,700 sites are projected to experience maximum summer temperature increases of more than 1.8°F (1°C) relative to 1981-2010; with 7% of those exceeding +2.7°F (+1.5°C), all in southern England.
  • 55% will see the flow of nearby rivers drop by more than 30% during periods of low flow compared to 1981-2010.
  • 50% will experience 30 or more days of very high fire risk per year, compared to only 9% between 1981 and 2010.

Rewilding has also been found to improve mental health because it gives people the opportunity to engage with nature.

The charity Mind said: ‘Spending time in nature has been found to help with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

The study finds that, by 2050, two out of three people are likely to live in cities or other urban environments, meaning mainstreaming reseeding could have a huge impact on thousands of people.

The concept has already been successful in Germany and Singapore, where they have seen an extremely positive impact of rewilding.

In Singapore, the iconic Gardens by the Bay features 18 faux super trees, some reaching 160 feet, that mimic normal trees by absorbing heat, filtering rainwater and providing shade.

They are also home to around 158,000 living plants, allowing nature to take back control.

“The large-scale redevelopment of urban spaces, including the creation of natural corridors and wild spaces around urban infrastructure, is something that has been relatively neglected as part of the solution so far,” said the Dr Pettorelli.

“This is the first report of its kind to present a roadmap for rewilding our cities and we believe it is a high-impact solution to jointly address the crises of climate and water loss. biodiversity in an inexpensive and non-intervention way.”

Rewilding has also been found to improve mental health because it gives people the opportunity to engage with nature.  Pictured: Plaid Skipper Butterfly

Rewilding has also been found to improve mental health because it gives people the opportunity to engage with nature. Pictured: Plaid Skipper Butterfly

The concept has already been successful in Germany and Singapore, where they have seen an extremely positive impact of rewilding.  Pictured: Urban Pilgrim

The concept has already been successful in Germany and Singapore, where they have seen an extremely positive impact of rewilding. Pictured: Urban Pilgrim

However, although reseeding has been proven to benefit the environment and the people who live there, the scientists behind the report cautioned that urban reseeding must be provided with professional advice and support.

“Large-scale reseeding should be done with expert advice, because ultimately well-intentioned but misguided efforts could actually lead to further loss of biodiversity and increased threats to public health through invasive species, the transmission of diseases by wildlife as well as a worsening of social inequalities,” said Dr Petorelli.

When reintroducing new species, disease risk assessments should be performed to ensure that the animal is safe in its new home and that its new home is safe from the animal.

Dr Pettorelli added: “For the regeneration of urban spaces to work, we need buy-in and support from policy makers, funders, conservation scientists and, of course, local communities.

“There are so many things the ordinary person can do to support positive change. For example, by leaving part of your garden wild and avoiding artificial turf and pesticides, we can all do our part to ensure a future where wildlife and people thrive.

HOW DO BEASTERS MAKE LANDSCAPES MORE RESISTANT TO CLIMATE CHANGE?

Beavers build dams that create a series of ponds connected by waterways.

The resulting wetlands help strengthen environments against climate change in several ways;

  • Provide water for wildlife – This includes drinking water for large mammals, habitats for insects and enabling plant growth.
  • Cool the earth – The deeper the water, the cooler it tends to be, so their ponds help lower the water temperature. When this cooler water flows into the environment, it cools the earth.
  • Cool the air – The basins have a large surface area which allows faster evaporation of water, which acts as an air conditioner.
  • Flood prevention – In addition to physically retaining rainwater, the network of basins slows the flow of water during periods of heavy rain, thus allowing the soil to absorb more.
  • Maintaining Wetlands During Droughts – The deep water areas generated by the dams prevent the drying out of the wetlands.