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New project will rewild Yorkshire Dales

A new project will aim to restore a section of the Yorkshire Dales back into its natural state. 

The Wild Ingleborough project will initially cover 1,200 hectares of land and will bring together local communities to share skills and knowledge with the aim of rewilding the region.

The landscape is currently made up of bare limestone pavements and heavily grazed pasture, the aim is to transform the land into a nature-rich landscape with a variety of rare flora and fauna.

Over the next 12 months, the project will create around 40 hectares of new native woodland, with half created by planting 30,000 trees and the other half through natural regeneration.

Scientific monitoring, overseen by researchers at the University of Leeds, will track the changes to this landscape over time.

The monitoring will help the researchers to understand the way that moving to less intensive land management affects biodiversity and carbon storage.

road between green grasses under cloudy sky during daytime

Research team member Professor Dominick Spracklen, said: ‘A major challenge facing society is how to manage our landscapes in a way that allows nature to thrive and helps address climate change at the same time as producing food.

‘We will embed monitoring in the project from the outset, allowing us to demonstrate the benefits of Wild Ingleborough for nature, climate and people.’

Tanya Steele, chief executive at WWF, added: ‘Climate change and nature loss are two sides of the same coin; it’s vital that any efforts to safeguard our future and stabilise our climate have nature at their heart.

‘The UK, as hosts of COP26, can lead efforts to boost nature’s recovery, including transforming the way we use our land – with Wild Ingleborough a blueprint for restoration.

‘Through this project, we want to show that a wilder world is a more stable one, with nature more resilient and able to adapt to change.

‘Together with our partners and the local community, we hope to create a rich, diverse landscape for people and wildlife to thrive.’

Photo by Illiya Vjestica

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