The Wildlife Trusts create new role to speed up landscape recovery

Rewilding Europe co-ordinator, Rob Stoneman, takes on new challenge.

The Wildlife Trusts have created a new role – Director of Landscape Recovery – to develop a common vision for nature’s recovery at the landscape scale and to work with Wildlife Trusts to help turn that vision into reality.

Rob Stoneman has been appointed – he joins from Rewilding Europe where he has spent two years reintroducing bison to the Carpathian Mountains and helping communities in the Apennine Mountains learn to live alongside bears and other large mammals. Prior to that, Rob was chief executive of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust where he nearly quadrupled membership, repaired over 30,000 hectares of peatland, greatly increased the number of nature reserves and restored river systems across the county.

Rob Stoneman

Rob Stoneman

The Wildlife Trusts are a federation of 46 independent charities working together to bring wildlife back to one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. They aim to address the twin climate and ecological crises together and have the support of over 850,000 members and 35,000 volunteers. Over 60% of the population live within a 3 mile walk of a Wildlife Trust nature reserve and there are more Wildlife Trust nature reserves than there are branches of McDonald’s restaurants, a 1,000 more.

The role of Director of Landscape Recovery will be critical to:

  • Developing plans for Nature Recovery Networks at the regional scale
  • Developing a common overarching vision for nature’s recovery for specific landscape types, ranging from town and cities to the uplands, and locations around our coasts
  • Identifying large scale areas for landscape recovery and rewilding
  • Developing common strategies and peer support mechanisms for species reintroductions.

Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, says:

“We’re very excited about this new role and absolutely delighted to welcome Rob back to The Wildlife Trusts. A radical shift is needed to reverse nature’s decline and we know that it’s no longer enough to focus only on nature reserves as a way of helping wildlife. We need to be bringing wildlife back, through wilder landscapes and by restoring the abundance of nature everywhere. We want to be restoring whole ecosystems, not just individual nature reserves, and we want people and communities to feel part of nature, not separate from it. Rob has the energy, vision and experience to make this happen.”

Rob Stoneman says:

“The UK is primed for a wildlife recovery. A new system of payments that pays land managers for public goods, such as wildlife, flood prevention, carbon storage and better water quality, allied to a post-Covid recovery in which the public value wildlife, greenspaces and our natural world more than ever, sets the stage for wildlife to return. We want the abundance of Britain’s fabulous wildlife to return – insects pollinating flowers and crops in profusion, clouds of butterflies, murmurations of starlings, fields full of natural colour and towns and cities rewilded so that wildlife-rich greenspace is part of the weft and weave of urban life. A landscape recovery beckons and I can’t wait to get started.”