The best books on rewilding and the biodiversity crisis

Dave Goulson Author Of The Garden Jungle
By Dave Goulson

Who am I?

I have loved insects and other wildlife for all of my life. I am now a professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, UK, specializing in bee ecology. I have published more than 400 scientific articles on the ecology and conservation of bumblebees and other insects, plus seven books, including the Sunday Times bestsellers A Sting in the Tale (2013), The Garden Jungle (2019), and Silent Earth (2021). They’ve been translated into 20 languages and sold over half a million copies. I also founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in 2006, a charity that has grown to 12,000 members. 

I wrote...

The Garden Jungle

By Dave Goulson,

Book cover of The Garden Jungle

What is my book about?

The Garden Jungle is a celebration of the wildlife that lives right under our noses, in our gardens and parks, between the gaps in the pavement, and in the soil beneath our feet. Dave Goulson gives us an insight into the fascinating and sometimes weird lives of these creatures, taking us burrowing into the compost heap, digging under the lawn, and diving into the garden pond. He explains how our lives and ultimately the fate of humankind are inextricably intertwined with that of earwigs, bees, lacewings, and hoverflies, unappreciated heroes of the natural world, and how we can all help to encourage biodiversity in our back yard.

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The books I picked & why


By Edward O. Wilson,

Book cover of Half-Earth

Why did I love this book?

EO Wilson died just a few weeks ago, at the age of 92. It was a sad day for me, as he has always been one of my great heroes. “E.O.” was a fantastic scientist, a world authority on ants, and sometimes known as the “father of biodiversity”. In this book, he argues that we have no right to drive millions of species extinct and that our own future depends upon setting aside half the Earth for nature.    

By Edward O. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Half-Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

History is not a prerogative of the human species, Edward O. Wilson declares in Half-Earth. Demonstrating that we blindly ignore the histories of millions of other species, Wilson warns us that a point of no return is imminent. Refusing to believe that our extinction is predetermined, Wilson has written Half-Earth as a cri de coeur, proposing that the only solution to our impending "Sixth Extinction" is to increase the area of natural reserves to half the surface of the earth. Half-Earth is a resounding conclusion to the best-selling trilogy begun by the "splendid" (Financial Times) The Social Conquest of Earth…

Book cover of Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm

Why did I love this book?

This is the heart-warming and inspirational story of the author’s own rewilding project, on the Knepp estate in West Sussex, UK. I know Knepp well, since it is near to my home. For 20 years the author and her husband have allowed nature to run riot on their 3,500-acre estate. This book captures the magic of a visit to the project itself, a place where wildlife now thrives unchecked, purple emperor butterflies soar in the treetops, and nightingales can once more be heard singing.  

By Isabella Tree,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Wilding as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A poignant, practical and moving story of how to fix our broken land, this should be conservation's salvation; this should be its future; this is a new hope' - Chris Packham

In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the 'Knepp experiment', a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.

Winner of the Richard Jefferies Society and White Horse Book Shop Literary Prize.

Forced to accept that intensive farming on…

Book cover of Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life

Why did I love this book?

This book made me look at our countryside in a new way, and question our blind acceptance of the status quo. This is a fiercely critical look at our impoverished, tamed, often boring landscape, and argues for bringing back nature. Why can’t we have wolves, lynx, and bears roaming free once again in our countryside? George presents a clear vision for a wilder future.

By George Monbiot,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Feral as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To be an environmentalist early in the twenty-first century is always to be defending, arguing, acknowledging the hurdles we face in our efforts to protect wild places and fight climate change. But let’s be honest: hedging has never inspired anyone.
So what if we stopped hedging? What if we grounded our efforts to solve environmental problems in hope instead, and let nature make our case for us? That’s what George Monbiot does in Feral, a lyrical, unabashedly romantic vision of how, by inviting nature back into our lives, we can simultaneously cure our “ecological boredom” and begin repairing centuries of…

Book cover of Rebirding: Winner of the Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation: Restoring Britain's Wildlife

Why did I love this book?

This is a wonderfully imaginative book. It examines how Britain, a nation of nature lovers with over 1 million members of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, has become one of the most damaged and denuded countries on the planet. Although depressing in parts when looking at the depths of our global biodiversity crisis, this book explains how we can turn this around, heal our land, bring back wildlife, and ensure vibrant rural communities. 

By Benedict MacDonald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rebirding as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Richard Jefferies Society and White Horse Book Shop Literary Prize

'splendid' -Guardian

'visionary' -New Statesman

Britain has all the space it needs for an epic return of its wildlife. Only six percent of our country is built upon. Contrary to popular myth, large areas of our countryside are not productively farmed but remain deserts of opportunity for both wildlife and jobs. It is time to turn things around. Praised as 'visionary' by conservationists and landowners alike, Rebirding sets out a compelling manifesto for restoring Britain's wildlife, rewilding its species and restoring rural jobs - to the benefit…

Book cover of Rebugging the Planet: The Remarkable Things That Insects (and Other Invertebrates) Do - And Why We Need to Love Them More

Why did I love this book?

Vicki is a fellow insect enthusiast, so perhaps it is inevitable that I would love her new book on the wonders of the ‘bug’ world. Insects are vital, pollinating crops and wildflowers, keeping soils healthy, recycling leaves, dung and dead bodies, and controlling crop pests. Love them or loathe them, we all need them. This book gives lots of practical tips as to what you can do to encourage bugs in your space. 

By Vicki Hird,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rebugging the Planet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Foreword by Gillian Burke

This is a lovely little book that could and should have a big impact....Let's all get rebugging right away! Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Meet the intelligent insects, marvellous minibeasts and inspirational invertebrates that bring life to our planet. Discover how we can 'rebug' our attitudes and embrace these brilliant, essential insects, so that we can avoid an 'insectageddon' and help each other thrive.

In Rebugging the Planet, Vicki Hird shows us that bugs are beautiful, inventive

and economically invaluable. They are also responsible for pollinating plants,

feeding birds, defending crops and cleaning water systems. But with 40% of…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in rewilding, land use, and environmental degradation?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about rewilding, land use, and environmental degradation.

Rewilding Explore 14 books about rewilding
Land Use Explore 9 books about land use
Environmental Degradation Explore 23 books about environmental degradation

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Into the Wild, The World Without Us, and Butterfly Isles if you like this list.