Nature economies

We want rewilding to revitalise rural communities through local nature-based economies that can be sustained

Rewilding has the potential to stimulate a nature-based economy, which would provide new and exciting jobs to help young people stay in their communities, learn new skills, raise their families and sustain the area's vitality.

Rewilding relies on people making a collective decision to explore an alternative future for the land. Those who own and derive their income from the land are central to making this decision.

Establishing rewilding areas, and striving to make these world-class destinations for nature tourism, has the potential to bring significant economic benefits through tourism alone. Most of these benefits, including jobs and income, would be felt and shared locally.  

What the evidence suggests

We know from experiences around the world that:

  • National parks and nature reserves receive around eight billion visits every year - contributing about £450 billion to local economies.
  • Tourism currently generates more revenue and provides more employment for the rural sector in Britain than farming - generating £18.6bn for the rural economy and providing 340,000 full-time jobs
  • The market for nature tourism in Europe is increasing at six times the rate of tourism overall.
  • Over 65% of the total trip cost from a typical nature-based adventure tourism holiday remains in the local economy.
  • In Scotland alone over 1 million trips are made for the primary purpose of viewing wildlife, and nature-based tourism is estimated to be worth £1.4 billion to Scotland’s economy, with 39,000 associated jobs.
  • For example, dolphins of Scotland's Moray Firth generate £9m per year from tourism. Over a 50-year life, each dolphin could be worth £4.5m

Added to this are the projected benefits from i) sustainable hunting and fishing, forestry, and the harvesting of wild natural products in buffer areas and ii) payments for ecosystem services (e.g. for peatland restoration, woodland regeneration, flood mitigation and carbon sequestration). These opportunities could offer a more sustainable economic future than traditional land uses, particularly in more remote areas.