A COALITION of organisations in favour of restoring nature to the point where it can take care of itself has launched a campaign to make Scotland the world’s first rewilding nation.

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance made the call as they revealed a survey that showed 76% of Scots support the move, with 7% opposed.

They want the Scottish Government to commit to rewilding 30% of the country’s land and sea within a decade, ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November.

Their campaign kicked off today with a new animation by wildlife presenter and filmmaker Gordon Buchanan, purporting to show how rewilding can help make Scotland a place where nature recovers, wildlife flourishes and people prosper.

“The world faces overlapping nature, climate and health crises, but Scotland has the opportunity to show bold leadership by becoming the world’s first rewilding nation,” said alliance convener Steve Micklewright, the chief executive of Trees for Life.

“We have the space, political influence and public backing to become a world leader in saving nature and ourselves.”

Habitats and species are being eradicated worldwide and the United Nations has declared 2021-2030 the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.

The Scottish Government has committed to bold action to tackle the crisis facing biodiversity through its Edinburgh Declaration.

However, far from being the nature-restoration trailblazer it could be, and despite many superb conservation initiatives, the alliance said Scotland is lagging behind other countries.

It said rewilding at least 30% of Scotland’s land and sea by 2030 can be achieved by restoring and expanding woodlands, moorlands, peatlands, rivers and marine habitats, and without loss of productive agricultural land.

Hugh Raven, chair of Open Seas, added: “The new opinion poll shows people know that nature’s health is our nation’s wealth. Incentivising lower impact fisheries around our coastline would help degraded habitats and fish populations recover, and regenerate our harbours and coastal towns.”