David Attenborough’s recent documentary on extinction together with global recognition of the need to reduce carbon emissions, as illustrated by China’s recent commitment to carbon neutrality, have brought into focus the need for us all to take biodiversity loss and climate change seriously.
RSK Wilding will help clients to offset their carbon emissions and meet the requirements for biodiversity net gain (BNG) through rewilding. In this way, RSK Wilding aims to help reverse decades of environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and the impacts of climate change by sensitively rewilding land in collaboration with landowners, local communities, non-governmental organisations and other interested parties. Such a huge task requires joined-up thinking and that all stakeholders work together.
The new venture is part of the RSK group, a leading integrated environmental, engineering and technical services business. It will sit within RSK Biocensus, RSK’s ecology business.
The ambitions of the new venture match RSK’s drive to lead by example in the fields of sustainability, climate change and biodiversity.
What is rewilding?
Rewilding encompasses a whole spectrum of possible actions to restore and protect the natural environment. In some instances, the best action is no intervention: simply leaving land to take its natural course and allowing natural ecosystem processes to recover. In others, a small amount of focused intervention may be required. RSK Wilding’s experts will assess the best approach to each individual site and will use selected interventions to enhance biodiversity (for example, digging ponds, recreating meadows or introducing dormice or beavers to a site); to improve carbon sequestration (for example, planting trees or reinstating peatland); or otherwise to benefit the ecosystem services of the land. By taking a balanced approach of necessary and appropriate intervention while also allowing nature to prevail, RSK Wilding aims to create a network of wild sites across the UK, thereby making a significant contribution to the reversal of the twin threats of climate change and biodiversity loss.
By working collaboratively with landowners, consultees and other stakeholders, the business will enhance the natural capital benefits of currently degraded and/or agriculturally marginal land with the purpose of enhancing biodiversity, improving water quality, reducing flood risk and sequestering carbon. Some of these will also be wonderful places to visit with significant community, access-to-the-countryside and well-being benefits that will encourage a balance between nature and people, and offer a space where both can thrive side by side.
RSK Wilding will bring together a plethora of skills from across the RSK businesses: ADAS’s unrivalled experience in the agricultural sector; the extensive expertise of RSK Biocensus in BNG and ecological monitoring; the habitat creation and management capabilities of RSK Habitats, Salix and TWIG; and the carbon-accounting skills of the carbon, climate and sustainability team.
“We are a multidisciplinary team within the RSK group that brings together an unrivalled breadth of expertise in biodiversity, land management and climate science,” comments RSK Wilding Director Jon Davies. “We are proud of the technical expertise, practical experience, scientific know-how and passionate drive that we can bring to this urgent and critical challenge and look forward to making a difference.”
RSK Wilding’s clients will include developers needing to achieve BNG in order to obtain planning permission for their projects; landowners wanting to see their land returned to nature while at the same time providing an income; companies with a real commitment to corporate social responsibility; and philanthropists keen to make their mark on the future.