Rewilding is a new, (pro)active approach to biodiversity conservation. The abandonment of rural areas worldwide provides huge opportunities for developing rewilding projects and creating new nature reserves – though it’s important to note that rewilding is necessarily a bottom-up process that can only be truly sustainable if it is set up and implemented in cooperation with local communities. Restoring ecosystems is key to our public health and mental well-being, and vital in the fight against climate change and mass extinction. The goal of this session is to discuss and promote scientifically-sound, evidence-based models of rewilding to reach and maintain favorable status for habitats and species. Can we bring back natural processes while promoting socio-economic development and supporting rural communities? In this session, we share experiences with rewilding projects and look at possible funding and income-generating mechanisms that contribute to healthy, life-supporting landscapes and rural development.