Christopher Sandom

Christopher Sandom
University of Sussex · EBE

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59
Publications
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3,247
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Publications

Publications (59)
Article
Background In recent years there has been an increased focus on the role of large herbivores in ecosystem restoration and climate change mitigation. There are multiple processes by which large herbivores could potentially influence climate feedback and forcing effects, but the evidence has not yet been synthesised in a systematic and accessible for...
Article
Rewilding is increasingly considered as an option for environmental regeneration, with potential for enhancing both biodiversity and ecosystem services. So far, however, there is little practical information on how to gauge the benefits and limitations of rewilding schemes on ecosystem composition, structure and functioning. To address this knowled...
Article
Two major environmental challenges of our time are responding to climate change and reversing biodiversity decline. Interventions that simultaneously tackle both challenges are highly desirable. To date, most studies aiming to find synergistic interventions for these two challenges have focused on protecting or restoring vegetation and soils but ov...
Article
Full-text available
Large herbivores provide key ecosystem processes, but have experienced massive historical losses and are under intense pressure, leaving current ecosystems with dramatically simplified faunas relative to the long‐term evolutionary norm. Hampered by a shifting baseline, natural levels of large‐herbivore biomass are poorly understood and seldom targe...
Preprint
1. Minimal intervention, process-oriented ecological restoration, popularly called rewilding, is rapidly gaining traction in the UK as a forward-looking, optimistic agenda for ecological recovery and reversing biodiversity losses. However, proposals for projects of this nature have also created polarisation between people with differing views on th...
Article
Full-text available
A species’ diet is central to understanding many aspects of its biology, including its behaviour, movement, and ecological niche. The diets of terrestrial carnivorous mammals, defined here as species primarily consuming other mammals (hereafter, mammal‐consumers), have been extensively studied and can vary in the proportion of different food types,...
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Abstract In this exploratory study, we employ an interdisciplinary approach to explore potential synergies and trade‐offs between the needs of people and nature in the context of agroecological farming and nature conservation. Ecological field studies and management surveys from six sites were combined with a participatory‐deliberative appraisal ex...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Reinstating large, native herbivores is an essential component of ecological restoration efforts, as these taxa can be important drivers of ecological processes. However, many herbivore species have gone globally or regionally extinct during the last 50,000 years, leaving simplified herbivore assemblages and trophically downgraded ecosystems. H...
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Full-text available
Prehistoric and recent extinctions of large-bodied terrestrial herbivores had significant and lasting impacts on Earth’s ecosystems due to the loss of their distinct trait combinations. The world’s surviving large-bodied avian and mammalian herbivores remain among the most threatened taxa. As such, a greater understanding of the ecological impacts...
Article
Full-text available
Carnivorous mammals play crucial roles in ecosystems by influencing prey densities and behaviour, and recycling carrion. Yet, the influence of carnivores on global ecosystems has been affected by extinctions and range contractions throughout the Late Pleistocene and Holocene (approx. 130 000 years ago to the current). Large-bodied mammals were part...
Article
Full-text available
Large-bodied mammalian herbivores dominated Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems for several million years before undergoing substantial extinctions and declines during the Late Pleistocene (LP) due to prehistoric human impacts. The decline of large herbivores led to widespread ecological changes due to the loss of their ecological functions, as driven b...
Preprint
The massive global losses of large mammals in the Pleistocene have triggered severe ecosystem changes including changed nutrient cycles, fire regimes and climate, shifts in biomes and loss of biodiversity. Large herbivores create and diversify resources and living space for other organisms and thereby play an important role in ecosystem functioning...
Article
Full-text available
Large-bodied mammalian herbivores can influence processes that exacerbate or mitigate climate change. Herbivore impacts are, in turn, influenced by predators that place top-down forcing on prey species within a given body size range. Here, we explore how the functional composition of terrestrial large-herbivore and -carnivore guilds varies between...
Article
Full-text available
Rewilding has been hailed as ‘radical’ and ‘agenda-setting’ in the challenge it poses to mainstream conservation. This paper questions whether that is still the case, or if rewilding is now being mainstreamed and with what consequences? Our analysis focuses upon developments in Britain, up until 2018, discussing what changes have become manifest an...
Article
Full-text available
The practice of rewilding has been both promoted and criticized in recent years. Benefits include flexibility to react to environmental change and the promotion of opportunities for society to reconnect with nature. Criticisms include the lack of a clear conceptualization of rewilding, insufficient knowledge about possible outcomes, and the percept...
Book
Cambridge Core - Natural Resource Management, Agriculture, Horticulture and forestry - Rewilding - edited by Nathalie Pettorelli
Chapter
Rewilding in Britain has become synonymous with George Monbiot and his book Feral (Monbiot, 2013), which is both celebrated and condemned for opening up debate and raising awareness, while also polarising and antagonising stakeholders. Rewilding in Britain did not start with Monbiot, with longer-standing discussion and experimentation advanced by m...
Article
The use of fences in conservation can be controversial, as artificial barriers constrain natural behaviour and ecological dynamics. However, in the case of large predators inhabiting protected areas within a hostile human‐dominated landscape, predators may remain at low densities if they face high mortality upon leaving the reserve. In turn, this m...
Article
We present the results of a process to attempt to identify 100 questions that, if answered, would make a substantial difference to terrestrial and marine landscape restoration in Europe. Representatives from a wide range of European governmental and non-governmental conservation organisations, universities, independent ecolo-gists and land managers...
Article
Full-text available
Rewilding, here defined as “the reorganisation of biota and ecosystem processes to set an identified social–ecological system on a preferred trajectory, leading to the self-sustaining provision of ecosystem services with minimal ongoing management,” is increasingly considered as an environmental management option, with potential for enhancing both...
Article
Full-text available
Conservation relies heavily on external funding, much of it from a supportive public. Therefore it is important to know which species are most likely to catalyse such funding. Whilst previous work has looked at the physical attributes that contribute to a species’ appeal, no previous studies have tried to examine the extent to which a species’ symp...
Article
Defaunation, the emptying of ecosystems of fauna, has been highlighted as a likely threat to the conservation of carnivores, but the magnitude of this threat has yet to be quantified. We quantify the potential threat defaunation presents to wild felids. Global. For the 32 wild felids that feed primarily on mammals, we used 5,330 prey records from 2...
Article
Many contemporary species of large-felids (>15 kg) feed upon prey that are endangered, raising concern that prey population declines (defaunation) will further threaten felids. We assess the threat that defaunation presents by investigating a late Quaternary (LQ), ‘present-natural’ counterfactual scenario. Our present-natural counterfactual is base...
Article
Full-text available
In our recent perspective article, we noted that most (approximately 0 percent) terrestrial large carnivore and large herbivore species are now threatened with extinction, and we offered a 13-point declaration designed to promote and guide actions to save these iconic mammalian megafauna (Ripple et al. 2016). Some may worry that a focus on saving m...
Article
Full-text available
From the late Pleistocene to the Holocene and now the so-called Anthropocene, humans have been driving an ongoing series of species declines and extinctions (Dirzo et al. 2014). Large-bodied mammals are typically at a higher risk of extinction than smaller ones (Cardillo et al. 2005). However, in some circumstances, terrestrial megafauna population...
Article
Rewilding has fired the imaginations of many, but much misunderstanding remains around what rewilding is and how it could be put into practice. Is it being put forward as a panacea, or can it be integrated with more traditional conservation measures to create a more comprehensive approach to conservation? Might traditional nature conservationists a...
Article
Full-text available
Rewilding is being promoted as an ambitious alternative to current approaches to nature conservation. Interest is growing in popular and scientific literatures, and rewilding is the subject of significant comment and debate, outstripping scientific research and conservation practice. Projects and research are found the world over, with concentratio...
Article
Until recently in Earth history, very large herbivores (mammoths, ground sloths, diprotodons, and many others) occurred in most of the World's terrestrial ecosystems, but the majority have gone extinct as part of the late-Quaternary extinctions. How has this large-scale removal of large herbivores affected landscape structure and ecosystem function...
Article
Full-text available
Trophic rewilding is an ecological restoration strategy that uses species introductions to restore top-down trophic interactions and associated trophic cascades to promote self-regulating biodiverse ecosystems. Given the importance of large animals in trophic cascades and their widespread losses and resulting trophic downgrading, it often focuses o...
Article
Full-text available
Large wild herbivores are crucial to ecosystems and human societies. We highlight the 74 largest terrestrial herbi-vore species on Earth (body mass > – 100 kg), the threats they face, their important and often overlooked ecosystem effects, and the conservation efforts needed to save them and their predators from extinction. Large herbivores are gen...
Article
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'Rewilding is the mass restoration of ecosystems and natural processes, accompanied or driven by the reintroduction of missing species' (George Monbiot, quoted in Sandom et al., forthcoming).
Article
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The late Quaternary megafauna extinction was a severe global-scale event. Two factors, climate change and modern humans, have received broad support as the primary drivers, but their absolute and relative importance remains controversial. To date, focus has been on the extinction chronology of individual or small groups of species, specific geograp...
Article
Full-text available
Ecological trait data are essential for understanding the broad-scale distribution of biodiversity and its response to global change. For animals, diet represents a fundamental aspect of species’ evolutionary adaptations, ecological and functional roles, and trophic interactions. However, the importance of diet for macroevolutionary and macroecolog...
Article
Full-text available
The impact of large herbivores on ecosystems before modern human activities is an open question in ecology and conservation. For Europe, the controversial wood-pasture hypothesis posits that grazing by wild large herbivores supported a dynamic mosaic of vegetation structures at the landscape scale under temperate conditions before agriculture. The...
Article
Predator-prey interactions play an important role for species composition and community dynamics at local scales, but their importance in shaping large-scale gradients of species richness remains unexplored. Here, we use global range maps, structural equation models (SEM), and comprehensive databases of dietary preferences and body masses of all te...
Article
Full-text available
Rewilding is emerging as a promising framework within restoration ecology to help restore ecosystem function through species reintroduction. To manage effectively such projects it is necessary to predict and quantify the interactions between the reintroduced species and their environment. To date, this has not been a priority in restoration ecology...
Article
Full-text available
Ecosystem engineers are increasingly being reintroduced to restore ecological processes in restoration and rewilding projects. To predict and adaptively manage the impact of such species their behavioral ecology must be understood and quantified. Rooting behavior by wild boar qualifies them as ecosystem engineers due to their impact on vegetation d...
Chapter
Rewilding falls within the general framework of restoration ecology, but differs from a traditional view of habitat restoration and species reintroduction. Four initial steps are required to instigate a rewilding project: identification of the issue of conservation concern; identification of the missing ecological processes; identification of the f...
Article
Full-text available
1. It has been proposed that, across broad spatial scales, climatic factors are the main drivers of ecological patterns, while biotic factors are mainly important at local spatial scales. However, few tests of the effect of biotic interactions on broad-scale patterns have been conducted; conclusions about the scale-dependence of the importance of b...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Understanding the importance of predator-prey interactions for species diversity is a central theme in ecology, with fundamental consequences for predicting the responses of ecosystems to land use and climate change. We assessed the relative support for different mechanistic drivers of mammal species richness at macro-...
Chapter
Full-text available
Here we explore the ecological feasibility of constructing a landscape-scale fenced reserve in the Scottish Highlands, to contain a wolf Canis lupus population for the purpose of promoting ecological restoration. The prospect of constructing such a reserve raises numerous issues, and here we describe a theoretical investigation into the specific ca...

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