Restorative ecological practice: The case of the European Bison in the Southern Carpathians, Romania

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This paper engages with rewilding practice in the particular case of European Bison reintroductions to the Southern Carpathians. In doing so, it questions traditional notions of species purity implied in wisent conservation so far, and shows how these can be problematic. The argument takes animal agency seriously and explores how incorporating the animals’ view can challenge and modify rewilding practice. It proposes the concept of restorative ecological practice as a new stage in the human relation to the environment and in the history of conservation. Nature restoration in a world of accelerating material change is best understood as rebuilding relationships between humans and their environments, and not as returning to previous states. This idea implies that we have entered an experimental phase of nature conservation where inherited notions of what counts as an animal, and what animals can and should do, need to be thoroughly interrogated. New relationships between impure species are an integral part of the future of conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-108
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Animal geographies
  • Conservation social science
  • Critical geography
  • Ecological restoration
  • Human-animal relations
  • Rewilding


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