Holistic Restoration guides people towards inhabiting our ecological roles in landscapes once more. It weaves Regenerative Production, Wilding and Nature Connection together to create Landscapes and Cultures that foster Diversity, Resilience and Productivity and gives each of us a Valid and Beneficial place in our Landscapes.
What's in a Word In English there is no word to describe the whole that incorporates both wild and human, yet all landscapes are created by the two. Holistic Restoration is a way of naming and engaging with that whole.
Why Do We Need Holistic Restoration? There are many challenges that the world and humanity face; climate change, pollution, habitat loss and poor human health to name a few. These crises are frequently presented as separate entities, as are their various 'cures', and they are generally approached in isolation from one another. When we view a single problem, and seek a single cure, conflicts frequently arise - should we reforest land to capture carbon or should we promote farmland to reliably feed local people? Should we conserve cultural heritage or create human free wilderness? It is only by expanding the field of view, to include both nature and people as part of the same whole, that we can see that all of these crises are aspects of the same broken relationship between people and planet.
The Ecological Roles of People So how might we begin to reintegrate ourselves into the ecosystems that surround us? We can start by looking to the past. Britain has a long history. Glacial periods where woolly mammoths, cave bears and many other species dwelt here have alternated with interglacial periods like today. In previous interglacials elephants, lions, hyenas and many other species lived in woodlands, wetlands and grasslands not dissimilar to those found across Britain today. The diverse mix of trees and plants, huge herbivores and powerful carnivores created dynamic and complex ecosystems that spilled across our islands. People lived alongside all of these species and took part in the landscapes that were created. We ate whatever was most abundant, helping to regulate natural oscillations in population level. We wandered far and wide carrying with us plant seeds on our bodies or in our intestines. We dug up tubers and carbohydrate rich roots creating small disturbances in the soil in which new plants could root. In short, we helped to stabilise and add diversity to complex landscapes.
In this interglacial ancient hunter gatherers, as well as early farmers, filled in for some of the missing species of megafauna - cutting down trees that elephants would once have felled, moving plant seeds once moved by rhinos, creating ponds and pools once created by beavers and hunting animals once pursued by large predators. Even our livestock have stepped into the vacated shoes of wild boar and wild cattle and other herbivores.
Holistically Restoring By viewing the world as a single, interconnected whole Holistic Restoration revives these lost ecological interactions, guides how they can be filled again and gives us a beneficial and deeply meaningful role to play in our landscapes. It also creates landscapes, practises and diets which align with our evolutionary past nourishing our bodies, minds and emotions and offering us a route towards sculpting a new culture based around gratitude, altruism and gift. A way of being that co-creates a vibrant and whole world for future generations of human and more-than-human alike.