Student: CHU Shing Chun Paul
Supervisor: Xiaoxuan Lu
Thesis section: Border Landscape / le voisinage
Programme: Master of Landscape Architecture
Date: June 2020
In the recent past millennia, the process of anthropocentric way of living and the perpetual ecology orchestrated by human have led to significant damages to the biosphere, and paved the way to a novel response to mend the impairment. “Rewilding” is an eco-centric land management alternative, to introduce pristine wilderness back into humanity, and allow an open-ended natural processes to regain dominance in landscape to restore eco-dynamic with minimal human control. This approach has become a growing phenomenon as a result of marginal farmland abandonment across Europe, where the overarching policies and conservation strategies are historically embracing active land management. Cambrian Mountains in Wales, United Kingdom was studied as a miniature – The landscape has been maintained for production since WWI, Brexit intensified the drive for rewilding by conservationists to envision a policy-led humanless ‘wildland’ in an unprecedented scale. The ambition bluntly sweeps across uneconomical sheep farms that are still in operation, which sparked debate with farmers who live off the culture-saturated land through traditional management. A pilot community in Cambrian Mountains is selected to demonstrate the landscape intervention ‘Paddock Rewilding’- a middle ground to mediate and create synergy in two conceptually polarised value systems of heritage landscape and rewilding. Inspired by the indigenous pathway of ‘Shifting Cultivation’, this project examines the larger territory can be elaborated into a ‘permanently impermanent’ rotational scenario between ‘Rewilding’ and ‘Dewilding’. Timescale, traditional movement of livestock and the historical right of ‘Common’ are deployed to unlatch the potential land rhythm and hybridise farm management methods in post-Brexit era.
Keywords: rewilding; heritage landscape; non-anthropocentric conservation; land use conflict; Brexit