There are three key components to passive rewilding, according to Pereira, a professor of biodiversity conservation at the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research at the University of Leipzig. The first is restoring trophic complexity, or biodiversity, by allowing wildlife to return. This usually means restricting hunting, but in rare cases it does involve some relocation.
The second component is allowing landscapes to reconnect so that plants and animals can move around.
The third — and most crucial step — is allowing for unpredictable disturbances such as fires, pests and floods.
But letting things run wild is anathema to the traditional approaches to restoration and can be very difficult to accept for Europeans.
Pereira’s thinking is, “if you love it, set it free.”