The reintroduction of key missing species is important to rewilding in Britain

Over centuries, Britain has lost many keystone species. These species (the beaver, for example) have a role as ecosystem engineers and are essential to a flourishing natural environment.

Top predators, such as the lynx and wolf, drive ecological processes from the top of the food chain to the bottom. This is known as a trophic cascade. See the short film How Wolves Change Rivers (4.34mins) as an example of this.

The discovery of trophic cascades shows that living systems can’t function properly where large animals are missing. That’s why the reintroduction of keystone species is a key element of rewilding.

In any rewilding area, an assessment of missing keystone species should be made. Reintroductions should not happen unless there is widespread public support and consent. The final decision should be taken with local communities and landowners. We take a long-term view on this, recognising that the reintroduction of some species may be a decision for future generations.