Connor Lovell

Connor Lovell

Profile Display Name:

Connor Lovell

E-mail Address:

Start Year

2021 (Cohort 8)

Research interests:

Landscape ecology
Urban ecology
Restoration ecology
Human-wildlife coexistence

Hobbies and interests:

PhD Project
PhD Title

Rewilding Scotland: Reconciling biodiversity conservation with ecosystem services provision

Research Theme

Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution


Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution


CASE Partner

The British Deer Society (BDS)

CASE Supervisor

Additional supervisor(s)

Gary Polhill (The James Hutton Institute),


Rewilding, broadly defined as ‘the nature-led reorganisation and restoration of ecosystem processes and functions with minimal ongoing human intervention’, is a nature conservation concept and philosophy rapidly gaining traction in both scientific and non-scientific circles. To this end, rewilding has been proposed as a major tool in mitigating biodiversity loss and climate change. Despite this, many rewilding interventions are based on opinion and anecdotal evidence and lack a scientific evidence base. Often, ungulate communities, namely deer and wild boar/feral pigs, are introduced to rewilding projects to mimic historical ecological processes. However, there is very little empirical research into how these ‘megafauna’ communities impact environmental processes. Furthermore, there is very little understanding of the socio-ecological conflicts ungulates cause on rewilding projects.

To address some of these research gaps, the interspecific interactions between different ungulate species will first be elucidated, before attempting to infer how these ‘megafauna’ communities influence functional group diversity and carbon storage. Then, by modelling future scenarios the socio-ecological conflicts associated with rewilding will be elucidated. The Bunloit rewilding project in Scotland ( will be used as a study site to address these aims. Overall, this research aims to grow the scientific evidence base for rewilding.

Policy Impact

As rewilding is proposed as a solution to improve biodiversity and sequester carbon, the results of this project will help inform policy surrounding biodiversity, climate change, natural capita, and nature-based solutions. This project will also help inform land managers and rewilding projects ‘on the ground’ to improve outcomes to biodiversity and climate change, whilst also informing on and predicting potential socio-ecological conflicts.

Background Reading
  • Rewilding – A New Paradigm for Nature Conservation in Scotland?
  • Rewilding: Science, Practice, and Politics
  • Science for a wilder Anthropocene: Synthesis and future directions for trophic rewilding research
  • Collaborators

    The Bunloit Rewilding Project website:



    Social Links
    University Departmental Website:

    Personal Website:



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