However, it is not all rainbows and butterflies. In our densely populated and urbanized little country, we cannot just stand back and hope for the best. We probably all remember the widespread outrage about the Oostvaardersplassen and more recently the public debate concerning the return of the wolf. Creating the right conditions is critical – removing dykes and dams to free up rivers, reducing active management of wildlife populations, allowing natural forest to regenerate and reintroducing species, such as the European Bison, that have disappeared as a result of man’s actions.
So, how is Smart Parks involved?
In order to create the right conditions for nature to do its thing, understanding the functioning of an ecosystem is crucial. A good example is the Kennemerduinen, where the European bison, cattle and horses play a driving role in the ecosystem and with the help of Smart Parks sensors they are collecting data and building knowledge on how exactly these animals use the dunes. In a country as densely populated as the Netherlands, humans and wildlife constantly interact. With more wildlife species returning on a larger scale to the Netherlands, potentially increasing tension between people and wildlife, it is important to think about how to enhance sustainable human-wildlife coexistence. Last week, the Smart Parks team was present at the WildlifeNL kick-off, an 8-year research project that proposes to develop an innovative interspecies communication approach to wildlife management in the Netherlands. By understanding how ecosystems function, we can enhance wildlife and nature, reaping the benefits of rewilding in our own backyard!