Community engagement central to Highlands Rewilding informed by Agile Initiative research

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Highlands Rewilding have used community engagement research funded by the Agile Initiative to inform rewilding projects in the Scottish Highlands.

This month, Highlands Rewilding launched three community project websites for the areas around Bunloit, Beldorney and Tayvallich in Scotland. The “Joint Ventures for Scalable Community Benefits from Rewilding” project aims to work with communities to ensure that rewilding benefits both the land and the people living and working on it. The Highlands Rewilding team, including a newly funded Community Engagement Coordinator, are placing communities at the centre of their rewilding efforts. Initially through meetings and survey responses, communities will be able to contribute to the design and development of the opportunities for rewilding.

“The joint ventures will capitalise on environmental improvements from rewilding, and the valuable ecosystem services they generate. They will be a mechanism for involving more people in nature restoration, boosting the economy, skills development, job creation and cohesion in local communities.”

Highlands Rewilding

The Sprint team “How do we scale up Nature-based Solutions?” are collaborating with Highlands Rewilding in order to inform their engagement strategy. During their Sprint, the research team produced a guide called “A Recipe for Engagement” which advises on best practise to engage communities in nature recovery and nature-based solutions. The guide was produced in conjunction with the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery and the Nature-based Solutions Initiative.

“This project is an exciting opportunity to change how nature recovery is done to deliver multiple benefits for people, nature, and climate within a participatory governance framework. By using digital tools to bring multiple actors together across landscapes, we aim to investigate the balance between fostering meaningful engagement at the local level while considering broader goals and incentives.”

Caitlin Hafferty (Postdoctoral researcher)

Highlands Rewilding is an initiative which seeks to rewild and re-people the Scottish highlands through nature recovery and community prosperity projects. The Joint Community Ventures project is part of the Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland (FIRNS) scheme, co-funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with the Scottish Government and NatureScot, and runs until March 2025.

Find out more

The science behind our engagement:

The Community Joint Ventures project: