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Conservation Careers Podcast

Nov 14, 2022

Rewilding and restoration is an increasingly exciting and popular area of conservation. Whereby land is returned to a more natural state in a bid to let natural processes thrive once more.

There are numerous examples of it working quickly and really well - species returning in a matter of years - but have you heard of anyone rewilding a desert before?

Today we’re speaking with someone who’s leading a huge team seeking to restore 20,000 sq km of Saudi Arabia to ultimately allow Arabian Leopards to roam free in the near future, whilst also creating a thriving tourist economy.

Dr Stephen Browne is the Executive Director of The Royal Commission for AlUla.

AlUla refers to an area in the northwest of Saudi Arabia and is a region often referred to as the world’s largest living museum for its incredible sandstone carvings and rock art.

In this passionate and inspiring discussion, Stephen tells us about plans to protect 80% of AlUla by 2035 and how his team are rewilding the desert at scale - planting 10 million trees and reintroducing threatened species.

We discuss how truly huge conservation programmes are being developed across the Middle East and how world leaders are seeing nature-based solutions as a priority for their businesses and also for investments.

Stephen also shares his career path and advice for people seeking to work in the sector.

He’s got quite a story to tell.