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Can we produce high natural value? Conservation & livestock farming co-existing I Prof. Iain Gordon


Agriculture and wilderness do not have to be mutually exclusive as the idea of ‘rewilding’ may offer New Zealand an opportunity for us to restore our natural ecosystems without locking human or livestock completely out that ‘fortress’ conservation does.


“Livestock browse or graze in natural environments, supports positive outcomes for biodiversity with nutrient mobilization of organic matter and fire risk reduction and pastoral farmers can gain an economic return for consumers wanting more natural production systems,” explains Prof. Iain Gordon.

In this week’s Sarah’s Country’s Opinion Maker we break-down the concept of ‘rewilding’ in a New Zealand concept and the value-add product opportunity with Prof. Iain Gordon, Lincoln University & Australian National University. Iain explains:


  • In Southern Europe, desertification of the land saw farming not financially viable and the farmers moved to the cities. Then there was a build up of biomass, vegetation and large wildfires broke out so the government is paying for farmers to go back and manage the land through grazing livestock!

  • If rewilding approach is adopted, then larger areas can be given over to conservation, because of the potential broader benefits to society from these spaces and the engagement of farmers in practises that are closer to their traditions.

  • In the UK rewilding or conservation grazing is seen as ‘public good’ and good environmental management commanding a premium in restaurants

  • Iain wants to support sensible policy decision making in the New Zealand high country to avoid ‘fortress conservation’ locking out livestock altogether.

To read Iain’s research article “Domestic Livestock and Rewilding: Are They Mutually Exclusive?visit,https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsufs.2021.550410/full


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