Wild Europe’s objectives

  1. To promote the protection, restoration and extension and linkage of large natural ecosystems (wilderness and wild areas) in Europe, according to principles of non-intervention, with management by natural process
  2. To develop and support initiatives for this work, in liaison with a broadly based trans-European network of organisations and individuals having similar objectives
  3. To support a set of wilderness areas models for non-intervention, to be protected in perpetuity  
  4. To promote the multiple values of wilderness and wild areas in support of these objectives, through advocacy and other forms of representation, incentive, best practice sharing, training and general support
  5. To encourage, on an occasional non-financial basis, initiatives that seek to uphold Europe’s positive influence in protecting wilderness areas elsewhere in the world  

More information can be found on these aims in our 2020 Summary Action Plan. They arederived from the original strategy document Towards a Wilder Europe from our EC Presidency launch in 2009.

Main activities

The Foundation has five key areas of activity:

1. Advancing wilderness interests in key policy areas

  • Old growth/primary forest protection – promoted strategy since 2013. Our 2018 OGF Protection Strategy forms the basis for the IUCN Resolution 127 (2021) on improved protection, restoration and non-intervention
  • EU Biodiversity Strategy, EU Forest Strategy, EU Restoration Law: general inputs, including participation in the EC Working Group on Forests and Nature
  • Common Agricultural Reform: proposals for resource reallocation, input of a socio-economic support programme and establishment of consolidated Ecological Focus Areas
  • Environmental Impact Assessment reform proposal
  • Innovative funding potential: input to activation of PES (Payment for Ecosystem Services) and NBS (Natural Based Solutions) agendas
  • Social benefits – promotion of wider use

2. Promoting key supporting instruments for wilderness & wild areas

  • Promoting our practitioner’s definition as a standard framework for protection and restoration of wilderness – adopted by the EC, now used in some protected areas for 15 countries, in national strategies and new area designations
  • Producing a new practitioner’s definition for wild areas, used as a basis for promoting rewilding in the UK and elsewhere
  • Promoting phase II of the EC Wilderness Register, including new areas, connectivity and non-EU countries 
  • Supporting a wilderness mapping concept and strategy for further potential areas in response to the EU Biodiversity Strategy targets
  • Seeking wider adoption of EC Guidelines on wilderness and wild area management in the Natura 2000 network, with an update including collation of best practice
  • Inputs to reforms of 2015 EC Guidelines for Natura 2000 & Forests
  • Production of a Renewable Energy and Climate Change Strategy (RECCS) as an alternative to wood bioenergy use
  • Promoting closer coordination between fossil fuel and forest bioenergy campaign networksfor addressing climate change
  • Promoting legal framework for long-term protection for private sector owners in tandem with Lifescape and Clifford Chance

3. Inputs to wild area/wilderness strategies eg

  • Austria – our wilderness definition adopted by Austrian National Park Association
  • Bulgaria – proposal of “Threefold support approach” (protection advocacy, economic assessment and enterprise implementation) for protection of Pirin NP (See 5 below)
  • Czech Republic – Threefold support approach” implemented for Sumava NP with wider application 
  • England – promotion of rewilding; inputs on strategy, Payment for Ecosystem Services and national tree strategy via Rewilding Britain and other entities
  • France – promotion of rewilding; inputs through IUCN France Working Group and Coordination Evolution Libre network 
  • Germany – general inputs; our definition used in NP planning strategy
  • Iceland – our definition and criteria used in mapping initiative for legislative implementation
  • Ireland – inputs to Nephin wilderness initiative
  • Romania – inputs via FCC initiative in Carpathia Wilderness Reserve
  • Scotland – promotion of rewilding; development of socio-economic benefits strategy via SNH (now NatureScot), support for our partner European Nature Trust at Alladale and elsewhere
  • Slovakia – support for wilderness strategy and National Park non-intervention targets
  • Wales – promotion of rewilding; input to beaver reintroduction project and other projects; a socio-economic community benefit approach for rewilding

4. Providing input and promotion for large model area projects, examples:

  • Carpathia Wilderness Reserve in the Romanian Carpathians, being developed for National Park status by Fundatia Conservation Carpathia (FCC)
  • Clima Carpathia – input to trans-Carpathian protection concept being developed by FCC 
  • “Wolf Mountains” – spanning 200,000 hectare potential in East Slovakia/SE Poland/SW Ukraine with our partners Frankfurt Zoological Society
  • Hohe Tauern National Park, Austria – wilderness area designed around our definition and launched in 2021
  • Sumava/BayerischerWald National Park – promotion of a programme for protection advocacy, economic assessment and enterprise implementation
  • Bialowieza Forest – in Poland and Belarus, building on proposals for significant extension within Poland and trans-frontier to Belarus  

5. Developing non-extractive socio-economic and enterprise approaches:

  • Proposals for full activation of Payment for Ecosystem Services funding potential, including closely moderated incentivized private sector support
  • Proposals for innovative funding: identification and access to new sources, reform of existing instruments, codes of conduct
  • Support for reform of protection grants: adequate levels, simple administration, clear promotion
  • “Threefold support approach” to protection: targeted representation, economic assessment, enterprise implementation 
  • A long-term legal protection mechanism for land tenure in the private sector
  • ANEEP (Assessment of Non-Extractive Economic Potential) consultation facility for assessing and securing protected area income potential for conservation [under assessment].