Reflections at the XIX “Fragile Areas” Conference “Going wild again: Socio-spatial trends in fragile rural areas”

The XIX “Aree Fragili (Fragile Areas)” Conference “Going wild again: Socio-spatial trends in fragile rural areas” took place on 22 and 23 March in Rovigo, Italy. Organised by the Università degli Studi di Trieste and the Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry (TESAF) of the Università degli Studi di Padova (UNIPD), the conference was designed to present and discuss rewilding initiatives from different angles.

UNIPD staff delivered four presentations and contributed to the debate as well as to the coordination of two parallel sessions and a round table. Davide Pettenella and Mauro Masiero, involved as researchers in WILDCARD, were the keynote speakers at the conference, addressing the topic “Rewilding between growing wild and renaturalisation: an economic perspective“.

In a dedicated presentation, Laura Secco, also involved in WILDCARD, explored the current state of European forests and the trends of transformative change represented by global initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and their echoes in Europe such as the European New Green Deal and the European Union Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. In this context, she presented two both WILDCARD and the OptFORESTS project, focused on forest genetic resources.

By building on the two projects, she reflected on different though complementary perspectives – i.e., spontaneous rewilding and human-driven processes. From a policy and socioeconomic point of view she discussed how to support forest management practices in order to turn forest socio-ecological systems more resilient.