Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation
Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation 2017;15:271-81 DOI: 10.1016/j.pecon.2017.09.007
Research Letters - Rewilding South American Landscapes
Rewilding South America: Ten key questions
Meredith Root-Bernsteina,b,c,, , Mauro Galettid, Richard J. Ladlea,e
a School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Dyson Perrins Building, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
b Department of Biosciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
c UMR SAD-APT, INRA, Grignon, France
d Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista Departamento de Ecologia, CP 199, 13506-900 Rio Claro, SP, Brazil
e Institute of Biological and Health Sciences, Federal University of Alagoas, Av. Lourival Melo Mota, s/n, Tabuleiro do Martins, Maceió, AL 57072-900, Brazil
Received 05 June 2017, Accepted 28 September 2017
Abstract

There are various approaches to rewilding, corresponding to different socio-ecological and policy contexts. Most South American ecosystems have experienced Pleistocene and historical defaunation and the functional persistence of many areas will depend on restoration and rewilding. Rewilding is not seen as a priority or as a tool for restoration in South America, but we argue that several concepts could potentially be adapted to their contexts to respond flexibly to developing socio-ecological conditions. Here, we consider 10 questions that rewilding projects should consider, and we provide examples of how these questions are relevant to South America and how they have been answered already, in some cases. The 10 questions include: What role should humans play in rewilding projects? How can society deal with "monsters"? Is there a rationale for non-analogue rewilding? How do we justify baselines? Is it possible to do rewilding with small species? What is the right scale for a rewilding project? Should rewilding projects worry about sample size and pseudo-replication? When should we rewild carnivores? Do we need to distinguish rewilding from safari parks and zoos? What should be included in integrated monitoring and assessment? The questions we raise here do not have general answers optimal for all situations, but should be answered with reference to the socio-ecological conditions and transformational possibilities in different areas of South America.

Keywords
Rewilding, South America, Socio-ecological system, Brazil, Chile, Baselines, Scale, Cerrado