Beth Shapiro: what should the priorities for conservation be? We say we focus on processes then everyone focusses on species
Andrew Balmford: find the idea of rewilding positive, proactive and exciting. The talks this afternoon created a somewhat artificial dichotomy between existing conservation practice and rewilding. In the Anthropocene these rewilding interventions are not sustainable without continued intervention by people. Conservation does always need to thing about what it wants to achieve a how to get there. You need quantitative targets. Standing back and seeing what happens is vulnerable to woolly thinking.From a global conservation perspective we should not lose sight that restoration is a lot more expensive than keeping what is still out there. We shouldn’t lose sight of that.
Frans Vera: Do you have to be a poor country to have space for intact ecosystems. Can we send a signal to the developing world that you can develop and still live with big animals and intact ecosystems
Josh Donlan: The benefits for rewilding will outweigh the costs. Large megafauna captivate the human psyche. There are also potential costs of inaction. The potential risks are overemphasised and benefits understated.
Carlo Meloro: will rewlding just add chaos and entropy?
Frans: there are always objections to be found. But there are always people willing to make this work.
Josh Donlan: funding for rewilding and funding for conservation would not be in competition.
John Terborgh: rewilding is the only hope for conservation which is heading into dead ends. If we can get nature back in a "self-willed state" maybe be can recreate that in places. This problem of exponentially rising endangered species may be ameliorated.
Question: to what extent can rewilding happen in small isolated places, or is landscape level thinking required?
Frans Vera: on any scale as long as you have the perspective of scaling things up. Rewilding is 75% psychology and 25% ecology. The only way to get people to shift their baseline is to have an example
John Terborgh: scale is very important. Even Yellowstone is not big enough to contain stable populations of predators. Need to work at large scale.
Andrew Balmford: you need to think about achieving things at large scales. At small scales the things you want won;t happen
Question: how is rewilding going to help mitigate against climate change? Is it a romantic distraction against stopping the bad stuff happening. Can the ecosystem restored help prevent dangerous climate change?
Jacquelyn Gill: what role can hunting play positive or negative?
Frans Vera: very cultural set of emotions. Netherlands very different in attitudes to USA. The cultural values of hunting would need to be tackled in his context of Netherlands.
Josh Donlan: financing will be an issue and hunting could be a useful revenue stream, and widens the cultural tent of support.
Mauro Galetti: what are the processing that are key to rewilding.
Beth Shapiro: we have to be willing to take risks, There us risk inherent in the process.
John Terborgh: the wildlands Institute takes it as an article of faith that establishing predators is a core element of rewilding. And they have been successful.
Josh Donlan: for megafauna it does go bad it is reversible. "we killed them once, so we can kill them again"
David MacDonald: in case of beavers, the argument that we could kill them if we needed to. This argument was persuasive.
Abby Swann: what about the context of rapid climate change in this system
Frans Vera: we have a total climate change adapted flora and fauna. They moved up and down in the ice ages. The problem is the corridors. We need a working network where large ungulates could move from one region to the other.
Yadvinder Malhi: any ecosystem will find this a huge challenge. We perhaps have more chance to maintain functional ecosystems if we take a functionalist, rewilding approach than a compositionalist approach fixed on species rather than processes.
Sergey Zimov: release of CO2 and methane from permafrost is a threat. Restoring the mammoth steppes can help prevent by covering with productive grasses. This prevents methane release until 4 C warming. Grassland is light in summer vs peatlands. This can assist in summer cooling..
Question: What is the role of science and scientists in the conservation of the future
John Terborgh: the science of alternative states and trophic cascades is essential to preventing extinction.
Cecilia Dahlsjoe: how far are we from a Jurassic Park.
Beth Shapiro: the theoretical upper limit for DNA survival is several hundred thousand. We are pushing 1 million years. The short answer is never!