Calpe Conference 2017 (21-24 September)
"The Rewilding Conference"
The aim of the Rewilding Conference is to discuss trophic rewilding and discuss it within the wider context of ecological networks, species re-introductions, passive and Pleistocene rewilding. Trophic rewilding is an ecological restoration strategy that uses species introductions to restore top-down trophic interactions and associated trophic cascades to promote self-regulating bio-diverse ecosystems. Given the importance of large animals in trophic cascades and their widespread losses and resulting trophic downgrading, it often focuses on restoring functional mega-faunas. Trophic rewilding is being increasingly implemented for conservation, but remains controversial. Empirical research on trophic rewilding is uncommon, fragmented, and geographically biased, with the literature dominated by essays and opinion pieces. The way forward has to be through applied programmes that include hypothesis-testing and science-based monitoring and which outline priorities for future research and develop the global scope for trophic rewilding, along with the tools that optimize benefits and reduce human–wildlife conflicts. Assessment of the role of trophic complexity, interplay with landscape settings, land use, and climate change are vital components to be understood and built into such programmes. A decision framework for species selection, building on functional and phylogenetic information and with attention to the potential contribution from synthetic biology, will also need to be developed. This conference therefore aims to evaluate trophic rewilding’s current scientific basis, discuss the main lessons learned from ongoing rewilding projects and consider the way ahead.
This year the conference will once again be held at the University of Gibraltar between 21 and 24 September 2017.