The study, by charity Rewilding Britain, looked at 23 projects covering more than 75,000 acres of land being rewilded, which involves large-scale restoration of natural systems and in some cases reintroducing species.
Analysis from 22 of the sites reveals a 47 per cent increase in jobs, from 151 before projects began to 222 over an average of 10 years, with more varied roles covering areas such as nature tourism, monitoring and education.
Data from 19 sites showed an almost nine-fold increase in volunteering as a result of rewilding activities which Rewilding Britain’s director, Professor Alastair Driver, said would bring physical and mental health benefits to people. And all the sites continue to generate income from food production on more productive land, livestock, and other enterprises, the research shows.
Rewilding land to boost nature and help tackle climate change has proved controversial in some quarters, amid concerns it involves abandoning land that should be used for food production, and the study found mixed views on the projects from neighbouring landowners.
But Rewilding Britain, which wants nature restoration across 30 per cent of Britain’s land and sea by 2030, said its findings punctured myths that it was about land abandonment or halting food production.
Prof Driver said: “Our findings on green jobs should be music to the Government’s ears. They spotlight rewilding’s potential for creating economic and other opportunities for people while restoring nature and tackling climate breakdown.
“Many of us knew that rewilding projects produce food and create new job and volunteering opportunities alongside offering major biodiversity, water quality, health and carbon sequestration benefits, but even we underestimated the extent to which they do so.”