Project Outline: Rewilding and Reconnecting Durham University Estate

This study aims to evaluate the potential of the implementation of developing conservation methods, Rewilding, in university estate from historical research, primary fieldwork and reintroduction of plant species.
Project Outline: Rewilding and Reconnecting Durham University Estate


Biodiversity has declined sharply, and the consequence of this crisis has a significant impact on ecosystems as well as society. Rewilding is a powerful conservation approach for biodiversity conservation because it aims to restore self-sustainable ecosystems with limited human intervention.

Therefore, this research process aims to create and evaluate the implementation of rewilding conservation in Durham University wildland utilising the local species records and resources. Also, this project is going to collaborate with Botanic Garden to translocate locally extinct plant species and observe the impacts on the local ecosystem. This project will align with Durham University Biodiversity Net Gain Strategy by 2032 and be a potential case study for developing rewilding conservation field. Working with the university biodiversity teams and local stakeholders, this study aims to provide kickstarts for rewilding in the university’s wildland.


Firstly, desk and field-based research will be undertaken to explore the potential for reintroducing species that have gone locally extinct to the site, and the regional and national occurrence of such species. It will involve collecting and analysing historical records from Durham Council and Durham University historians. Also, using secondary resources and primary field records, the research will also explore how rewilding principles could be adopted on-site.

Secondly, experimental work will be undertaken, in collaboration with the University Botanic Garden to explore methods to grow individual plant species that are either locally extinct or endangered to increase their local populations. This will be a kickstart of rewilding project and it will allow us to analyse the impact of local species in the ecosystems. 

Further details are posted in my previous post. 

References Almond, R.E.A., Grooten, M., Bignoli, J. (2022) Living Planet Report 2022 Building a nature positive society, WWF. Available online at
Bowey, K. & Newso, M.(2012) The Birds of Durham, ISBN: 978-1-874701-03-3Egoh, B.N., Nyelele, C., Holl, K.D., Bullock, J.M., Carver, S. and Sandom, C.J., 2021. Rewilding and restoring nature in a changing world.PloS one,16(7), p.e0254249.
Graham, G.G. (1988) THE FLORA AND VEGETATION OF COUNTY DURHAM, The Durham Flora Committee, ISBN: 0905362020Hai et al. (2013) Advances in the reintroduction of rare and endangered, Life Sciences, 57(6),p603-609. Available online at    
Martin J,Gaywood, M.J.(2017) Reintroducing the Eurasian beaver Castor fiber to Scotland, Mammal Review, 48(1),p48-61. Available online at et al. (2019) Rewilding complex ecosystems, Science, 364(6438). Available online at:
Pettorelli et al. (2018) Making rewilding fit for policy, Journal of Applied Ecology, 55(3), p1114-1125. Available online at: 
The Birds of Durham; edited by Keith Bowey and Mark, 1014 pages plus 64 pages of colour photographs; 56 black-and-white photographs and numerous line drawings in text. Hardback. ISBN: 978-1-874701-03-3. 
Dawson, T.P., Jackson, S.T., House, J.I., Prentice, I.C. and Mace, G.M., 2011. Beyond predictions: biodiversity conservation in a changing,332(6025), pp.53-58

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