2018 - Landscape Ecology for Rewilding

Location: Glen Feshie, Cairngorms National Park

20th - 21st September 2018


The 2018 ialeUK student workshop offered MSc and PhD students with research interests in rewilding the opportunity to take part in a residential trip to the Cairngorms, Scotland, where field visits to local sites were combined with talks from expert speakers and discussions with peers. The event took place in collaboration with Cairngorms Connect, a partnership of neighbouring land managers who are undertaking the largest habitat restoration project in Britain.

Rewilding, with a focus on restoring natural processes and ecological dynamics, falls within the framework of restoration ecology and embraces progressive interdisciplinary science. As such, there are many links to be made with landscape ecology, which explores the relationships between landscape pattern and the social and ecological processes occurring on land, freshwater and sea.

Nature will not thrive if restricted to small reserves that are disconnected from each other, and landscape ecology has grown from theories such as SLOSS (single large or several small), ecological networks and ‘bigger, better, more, joined’. All of these theories also have relevance to rewilding. Rewilding is also the subject of legitimate concerns, and it is recognised that citizens have a stake in any 'future natures' which emerge. Thus, landscape ecology can have an important bridging role, helping us to understand both ecological processes and societal viewpoints. We find ourselves at an exciting time in the design and innovation phase of rewilding, and landscape ecology research has a lot to offer this.


Sophie Wynne-Jones

Sophie is a human geographer working on rural landscape change and governance. This includes research on:

1) Farming and agricultural policy developments: farmer decision-making, learning and practise; adoption of environmental management; co-operative behaviours; agri- environmental governance changes; novel forms of governance and partnership.

2) Human-nature relations with nature: whether these are constructed in terms of ecosystem services or ambitions for rewilding, and the implications these ideas have.

3) Knowledge controversies: how different rural stakeholders interact and agree on appropriate strategies for rural and landscape futures.

Current Projects


Rewilding in Wales – assessing processes of conflict and change


Rewilding in a Changing Europe: Opportunities, Threats and Shifting Geographies of Land-Use https://rewildinglandscapes.wordpress.com/


Stephen Carver

Steve is a Geographer and Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds. He has over 25 years' experience in the field of GIS and multi-criteria evaluation with special interests in wild land, rewilding, landscape evaluation and public participation. He has worked extensively on the development of wild land mapping and evaluation methodologies and has tested and applied these across a variety of locations and spatial scales including Scotland, England, Britain, Europe, and North America.



Scott Herrett

Scott is a research assistant in qualitative and visual methods working in the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences research group at the James Hutton Institute. His research interests include assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of management interventions, including ecosystem restoration in terms of cultural ecosystem service supply, and reconciling woodland expansion with other land use priorities and report on benefits derived by communities.



Provisional timetable

20th Sept

8am meet at Grant Institute, Edinburgh

Travel to Cairngorms via field visit to Schiehallion 

Afternoon talks


21st September

Field visits to several Cairngorms Connect sites including Glenmore, Invereshie & Inshriach and Glen Feshie.

Return to Edinburgh by 7pm


Travel and Accomodation

We will be staying in Insh Hall B&B, where there are several shared bunk rooms booked. Insh Hall sits in the foothills of the Cairngorm Mountains, at the lower end of Glen Feshie.

Travel from and back to Edinburgh will be provided in people carriers.