RewildECO - Cross-scale assessment of Rewilding Efforts on Ecosystem Biodiversity and Resilience

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Pil Pedersen


DKK 425,000




Internationalisation Fellowships


RewildECO investigates how rewilding efforts impact biodiversity and ecosystem resilience in Danish ecosystems. Specifically, I will investigate the effects of rewilding initiatives by addressing the questions: 1) To which degree is spatial and temporal changes in vegetation structure affected by rewilding efforts? 2) How does vegetation structures associated with rewilding relate to biodiversity? 3) Are rewilded ecosystems more resilient to extreme weather events? Rewilding aims at restoring ecological processes by (re)introducing animal species and RewildECO therefore investigates how introduction of keystone animal species can affect vegetation structure, ecosystems biodiversity and resilience, and compare these impacts with those of other conservation efforts.


Despite significant efforts in habitat and species conservation over decades, we are currently facing a Biodiversity crisis. With its´ focus on restoring ecological processes via species introductions, rewilding - a relatively new ecological restoration strategy - has a different focus and a novel approach than conventional strategies. Rewilding initiatives are increasingly being established across Europe and rewilding has been proposed to increase the resilience of ecosystems to climate change and to promote biodiversity. However, scientific evidence for this remains scarce. RewildECO will provide the first cross-scale evaluation of rewilding by studying landscape-scale ecological processes before and during rewilding initiatives and under usual and unusual climate conditions.


I will combine state-of-the-art remote sensing data (integrate SAR and LiDAR) of vegetation structure with existing knowledge about conservation management practices and wildlife densities to do time-series analyses of effects of Danish rewilding projects and other types of conservation efforts. I will conduct the research at Centre for Landscape and Climate Research at University of Leicester, UK, led by Professor Heiko Baltzer, which is internationally recognized for using remote sensing data to assess changes in vegetation structure, while also drawing on the expertise of the research group Vegetation dynamics lead by Associate Professor Signe Normand at Aarhus University, DK, and of Professor Norbert Pfeifer leading the research group Photogrammetry from Technische Universität Wien.

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