The Book of Wilding: A Practical Guide to Rewilding Big and Small

Isabella Tree and Charlie Burrell
Bloomsbury Publishing, £35.00

This is the sequel to Isabella Tree’s excellent book Wilding: The Return to Nature of a British Farm, which was published in 2018 and has sold a quarter of a million copies in eight languages. It is an in-depth analysis of the topic applied to estates, gardens and towns. It is based on vast experience with her husband, Charlie Burrell, of their 3,500-acre farm at Knepp in West Sussex, which in the year 2000 was on the verge of bankruptcy, and which they handed back to nature with a big increase in biodiversity and commercial success.

The book has much reference to their own experiences at Knepp, but goes far beyond that and contains many great pictures and diagrams. It also includes extensive further resources with a good bibliography.

It is a good analysis of conservation and ecosystem services, and addresses the issue that one third of the food we produce is wasted. It also emphasises the importance of soil and its biota in realising effective wilding, as well as demonstrating the public benefits and mental wellbeing that can be achieved by people viewing landscapes rich in diverse flora and fauna.

It sets a great template for the UN Sustainability Goals, but oddly there is very little mention in the book of sustainability as such. It provides much hope for our rural and urban environments and gives the reader empowerment to contribute.

Professor Jim Lynch FRSB