Leading researcher will speak about bison reintroduction at the conference „Landscape, Wilderness and The Wild” Newcastle University, UK

On March 28 IES’s leading researcher Anita Zarina will speak at the conference „Landscape, Wilderness and The Wild” that will be hold in Newcastle University, UK. The theme of A.Zarina’s presentation will be “Becoming bison: the precedent of wilderness in the Latvian ethnoscape”.


The European Bison (Bison bonasus (L.)) is the largest mammal found on the European continent, which is included in the World Red Data Book. It was formerly an animal living in the deciduous woods and meadows of the temperate zone from British Isles throughout the whole Europe across to Siberia. However, large herbivores such as bison together with the natural meadow they create have been almost extinct for European nature for several centuries. Since 2004 bison roam free as well in Latvia, in Pape Nature Park and its surroundings.

Bison plays an important role in biodiversity; it enhances the existence of natural meadows and a mosaic landscape, a dwelling place for many rare meadow animal and plant species. The reintroduction of bison in Latvia was planned to be one of the best investment in the landscape; both environmentally friendly and sustainable. But, because of bison’s large size and rarity, the locals saw them as a danger and threat to the landscape. Latvia’s experience shows that locals are not always willing and prepare to return to the landscape wilderness even if it is good for the biodiversity and nature protection.

The conference “Landscape, Wilderness and The Wild” will take the place on 26-28th March. It aims to consider the discourses that swirl around concepts of wilderness, wildness, wildscape, re-wilding, wilding and the wild. It will gather together participants from around the world including academics, journalists, artists, writers, creative practitioners, activists and landscape practitioners across disciplines such as conservation management, environmental philosophy, countryside planning, landscape architecture, cultural geography, fine arts, and other subject areas in the arts, humanities and sciences.

More about the conference