A common factor cited as precluding large-scale rewilding in the English lowlands is human population density – the UK is a densely populated country, the lowlands of the south particularly so, and there’s thus simply no room to set land aside for wild nature.
That’s true if one lumps high-density urban areas – like London, the commuter suburbs and the south coast conurbations – into one’s calculation of mean human population density. But I wonder to what extent such urban data skew the picture for the countryside – i.e. the areas which might actually be rewilded to support large herbivores and their predators? How does our rural human population density compare to that of countries that have managed to retain at least some large mammals – India, Nepal, Cambodia? Maybe our rural areas are indeed much more densely settled.
A much more decisive problem to my mind would be the density of the highway network. How dense is the web of rural roads in areas with relatively low human population density? And how do traffic volumes and speeds vary across this network?
Are there areas with low human population density, low road density, low traffic volumes and speeds, and low agricultural yields?