Rewilding Britain has pulled out of a major a £3.4m restoration project in Wales after widespread criticism from local farmers.
'Summit to Sea', one of the largest rewilding projects in the UK, has faced frequent calls from industry bodies to be scrapped.
The project aims to restore a huge swathe of land in mid Wales - from the Pumlumon massif down through wooded valleys to the Dyfi estuary.
The proposal wants to restore 10,000 hectares of land so it can support ancient trees and wildlife.
But local farmers have highlighted that it would hinder their ability to continue living off the land.
The Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) said the scheme is 'not good' for the economy, for communities and for the species that live there.
“It shouldn't exist - it shouldn't be here”, FUW's head of policy, Nick Fenwick said in August.
“There's every scope for working with organisations that recognise the importance of farming and the dangers to our eco-systems of getting rid of farming from habitats in which they've operated for thousands of years.”
As a result, Rewilding Britain, the lead partner behind the proposal, has now become the second group to pull out.
It follows Machynlleth-based Ecodyfi withdrawing its support, saying it had become 'increasingly disturbed' by the 'change of attitude' to the project by the farming community.
Rewilding Britain chief executive, Rebecca Wrigley, admitted that the project should have 'communicated more widely' with local communities.
“To succeed, it has to be community led and community supported as it finds ways to help both people and nature to thrive,” she said in a statement issued on Monday (21 October).
“While Summit to Sea held a series of face-to-face meetings and consultations locally, we should have communicated more widely that the project was to be community led and owned.
“We've learnt some invaluable lessons about how to do this in the most effective way.”