Rewilding Britain data shows 412% increase in jobs across rewilding projects in Scotland

Data from Rewilding Britain of 13 major rewilding projects in Scotland, covering almost 60,000 hectares between them has revealed a 412% increase in jobs since rewilding began.

Scottish countryside

The varied sample, includes sites owned or managed by charities, communities, private landowners, and public bodies. The first findings of their kind for Scotland come as calls grow for the Scottish Government to declare Scotland the world’s first Rewilding Nation and commit to nature recovery across 30% of land and sea.

“These remarkable job creation figures show how rewilding can turbocharge social and economic benefits for people, while offering hope for reversing biodiversity loss and tackling climate breakdown,”said Kevin Cumming, Rewilding Britain’s Rewilding Director and Deputy Convenor of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance.

Full-time equivalent jobs across the rewilding sites have increased from 24 before rewilding began to 123 now. The variety of jobs has increased, including nature-based hospitality and tourism, estate management, ecology, environmental monitoring, rewilding interventions, recreation, and education. Benefits for people’s health and wellbeing, and opportunities for gaining valuable skills and experience, has reportedly also risen thanks to combined volunteer numbers at the sites increasing from zero to 435.

The sites began rewilding at different times, and are all over 100 hectares in size. Cumulatively, they cover a total of 59,496 hectares, of which 43,233 hectares are rewilding. The largest recorded rise in jobs is at Trees for Life’s 4,000-hectare Dundreggan estate near Loch Ness. Since the rewilding charity’s purchase of the former deer stalking estate in 2008, jobs have increased from just one to 36, while volunteer numbers have risen from zero to 100.

At Dundreggan, Trees for Life is restoring the Caledonian forest and its wildlife. Last year, the charity opened the world’s first Rewilding Centre on the estate in the Highlands, to showcase how rewilding can give people inspiring experiences, create jobs and benefit rural communities. At the community-owned Tarras Valley Nature Reserve in Dumfries and Galloway, the 4,250-hectare nature restoration project on Langholm Moor has led to career opportunities from conservation grazing, regenerative farming, restoration of peatlands and native woodlands, and eco-tourism.

Despite growing praise for its rewilding progress, Scotland remains one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth. Intensive agriculture and climate breakdown are having the biggest impacts on habitats and wildlife, with other threats including non-native forestry, pollution, and introduced species. The Alliance say that rewilding 30% of Scotland can be achieved by restoring habitats including peatlands, native woodlands, wetlands, rivers and seas, with no loss of productive farmland.