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Wilderness or wildlands (usually in the plural), are
natural environment The natural environment or natural world encompasses all life, living and non-living things occurring nature, naturally, meaning in this case not Artificiality, artificial. The term is most often applied to the Earth or some parts of Earth. Th ...

natural environment
s on
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...

Earth
that have not been significantly modified by
human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A speci ...

human
activity or any nonurbanized land not under extensive agricultural cultivation. The term has traditionally referred to terrestrial environments, though growing attention is being placed on marine wilderness. Recent maps of wilderness suggest it covers roughly one quarter of Earth's terrestrial surface, but is being rapidly degraded by human activity. Even less wilderness remains in the ocean, with only 13.2% free from intense human activity. Some governments establish protection for
wilderness areas A wilderness area is a region where the land is in a natural state; where impacts from human activities are minimal—that is, a wilderness. It might also be called a ''wild'' or ''natural'' area. Especially in wealthier, industrialized nations, i ...
by law to not only preserve what already exists, but also to promote and advance a natural expression and development. These can be set up in preserves, conservation preserves, national forests, national parks and even in urban areas along rivers,
gulch In xeric Deserts and xeric shrublands are a biome A biome is a collection of plants Plants are mainly multicellular organisms, predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energ ...
es or otherwise undeveloped areas. Often these areas are considered important for the survival of certain
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

species
,
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the Genetics, genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near ...

biodiversity
, ecological studies,
conservation Conservation is the preservation or efficient use of resources, or the conservation of various quantities under physical laws. Conservation may also refer to: Environment and natural resources * Nature conservation, the protection and manageme ...
, solitude and
recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is spent away from , , , , and , as well as necessary activities such as and ing. Leisure as an experience usuall ...

recreation
. They may also preserve historic
genetic
genetic
traits and provide habitat for wild
flora Flora is all the plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, ca ...
and
fauna Fauna is all of the animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume organic material, Cellular r ...
that may be difficult to recreate in
zoo A zoo (short for zoological garden; also called an animal park or menagerie) is a facility in which animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () i ...

zoo
s,
arboretum An arboretum (plural: arboreta) in a general sense is a botanical collection composed exclusively of trees. More commonly a modern arboretum is a botanical garden containing living collections of woody plants and is intended at least in part for ...

arboretum
s or
laboratories A laboratory (, ; colloquially lab) is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific Science (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-E ...

laboratories
.


History


Ancient times and Middle Ages

From a visual arts perspective, nature and wildness have been important subjects in various epochs of world history. An early tradition of
landscape art Landscape painting, also known as landscape art, is the depiction of natural scenery such as mountains A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust 350px, Plates in the crust of Earth Earth's crust is a thin shell on the o ...
occurred in the
Tang Dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organiza ...
(618–907). The tradition of representing nature ''as it is'' became one of the aims of
Chinese painting Chinese painting () is one of the oldest continuous artistic traditions in the world. Painting in the traditional style is known today in Chinese as ''guó huà'' (), meaning "national painting" or "native painting", as opposed to Western style ...

Chinese painting
and was a significant influence in Asian art. Artists in the tradition of Shan shui (lit. ''mountain-water-picture''), learned to depict mountains and rivers "from the perspective of nature as a whole and on the basis of their understanding of the laws of nature… as if seen through the eyes of a bird". In the 13th century, Shih Erh Chi recommended avoiding painting "scenes lacking any places made inaccessible by nature". For most of
human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of humanity Humanity most commonly refers to: * Human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, ...
, the greater part of Earth's terrain was wilderness, and human attention was concentrated on settled areas. The first known laws to protect parts of nature date back to the Babylonian Empire and Chinese Empire.
Ashoka Ashoka (; Brāhmi: 𑀅𑀲𑁄𑀓, ''Asoka'', IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit ...

Ashoka
, the Great
Mauryan The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age list of ancient great powers, historical power in South Asia based in Magadha, founded by Chandragupta Maurya in 322 BCE, and existing in loose-knit fashion until 185 BCE. Quote: "Ma ...
King, defined the first laws in the world to protect
flora and fauna In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classified by taxonomy (biology), taxonomy into groups such as Multic ...

flora and fauna
in
Edicts of Ashoka The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of more than thirty inscriptions on the , as well as boulders and cave walls, attributed to Emperor of the who reigned from 268 BCE to 232 BCE. Ashoka used the expression ''Dhaṃma '' ( in the : , "Ins ...
around the 3rd century B.C. In the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, the
Kings of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged from various History of Anglo-Saxon England, Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, unti ...
initiated one of the world's first conscious efforts to protect natural areas. They were motivated by a desire to be able to
hunt Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wildlife Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal species (biology), species, but has come to include all organisms that grow or live wild in an area ...

hunt
wild animals in private hunting preserves rather than a desire to protect wilderness. Nevertheless, in order to have animals to hunt they would have to protect wildlife from subsistence hunting and the land from villagers gathering firewood. Similar measures were introduced in other European countries. However, in European cultures, throughout the Middle Ages, wilderness generally was not regarded worth protecting but rather judged strongly negative as a dangerous place and as a moral counter-world to the realm of culture and godly life.Kirchhoff, Thomas/ Vicenzotti, Vera 2014: A historical and systematic survey of European perceptions of wilderness. Environmental Values 23 (4): pp.443–464, here p. 446, doi:(10.3197/096327114X13947900181590 "While archaic nature religions oriented themselves towards nature, in medieval Christendom this orientation was replaced by one towards divine law. The divine was no longer to be found in nature; instead, uncultivated nature became a site of the sinister and the demonic. It was considered corrupted by the
Fall Autumn, also known as fall in American English and Canadian English, is one of the four temperate seasons. Outside the tropics, autumn marks the transition from summer to winter, in September (Northern Hemisphere) or March (Southern Hemisphe ...

Fall
(''natura lapsa''), becoming a vale of tears in which humans were doomed to live out their existence. Thus, for example, mountains were interpreted .g,_by_Thomas_Burnet.html" ;"title="Thomas_Burnet.html" ;"title=".g, by Thomas Burnet">.g, by Thomas Burnet">Thomas_Burnet.html" ;"title=".g, by Thomas Burnet">.g, by Thomas Burnetas ruins of a once flat earth destroyed by the Flood, with the seas as the remains of that Flood." "If paradise was early man's greatest good, wilderness, as its antipode, was his greatest evil."


15th century to present

Wilderness was viewed by colonists as being evil in its resistance to their control.Hogan, L. (1994). Department of the Interior. In P. Foster (Ed.), Minding the Body. The puritanical view of wilderness meant that in order for colonists to be able to live in North America, they had to destroy the wilderness in order to make way for their ‘civilized’ society. Wilderness was considered to be the root of the colonists' problems, so to make the problems go away, wilderness needed to be destroyed. One of the first steps in doing this, is to get rid of trees in order to clear the land. Military metaphors describing the wilderness as the “enemy” were used, and settler expansion was phrased as “ onqueringthe wilderness.” In relation to the wilderness, Native Americans were viewed as savages.Dunbar-Ortiz, R. (2014). An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. Beacon Press This dehumanization gave colonists an excuse to feel no mercy when attacking and killing Native Americans. The relationship between Native Americans and the land was something colonists didn’t understand and didn’t try to understand. This mutually beneficial relationship was different from how colonists viewed the land only in relation to how it could benefit themselves by waging a constant battle to beat the land and other living organisms into submission. The belief colonists had of the land being only something to be used was based in Christian ideas. If the earth and animals and plants were created by a Christian God for human use, then the cultivation by colonists was their God-given goal. However, the idea that what European colonists saw upon arriving in North America was pristine and devoid of humans is untrue due to the existence of Native Americans.Stewart, O. C., Lewis, H. T., & Anderson, K. (2002). Forgotten fires: Native Americans and the transient wilderness. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. The land was shaped by Native Americans through practices such as fires.Kantor, I. (2007). Ethnic Cleansing and America's Creation of National Parks. Public Land & Resources Law Review, 28, 41-64. Burning happened frequently and in a controlled manner. The landscapes seen in the US today are very different from the way things looked before colonists came. Fire could be used to maintain food, cords, and baskets. One of the main roles of frequent fires was to prevent the out of control fires which are becoming more and more common. The idea of wilderness having intrinsic value emerged in the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and state (polity), states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, Northern America, and Australasia.British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...

British
artists
John Constable John Constable (; 11 June 1776 – 31 March 1837) was an English landscape painter in the Romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centu ...

John Constable
and J. M. W. Turner turned their attention to capturing the beauty of the natural world in their paintings. Prior to that, paintings had been primarily of religious scenes or of human beings. poetry described the wonder of the natural world, which had formerly been viewed as a threatening place. Increasingly the valuing of nature became an aspect of Western culture.History of Conservation
BC Spaces for Nature. Retrieved: 20 May 2006.
By the mid-19th century, in Germany, "Scientific Conservation", as it was called, advocated "the efficient utilization of
natural resources Natural resources are resource Resource refers to all the materials available in our environment which help us to satisfy our needs and wants. Resources can broadly be classified upon their availability — they are classified into renewabl ...
through the application of
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...

science
and
technology Technology ("science of craft", from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. I ...

technology
". Concepts of forest management based on the German approach were applied in other parts of the world, but with varying degrees of success.Akamani, K. (nd)
"The Wilderness Idea: A Critical Review."
A Better Earth.org. Retrieved: 1 June 2006
Over the course of the 19th century wilderness became viewed not as a place to fear but a place to enjoy and protect; hence came the
conservation movement The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political, environmental, and social movement that seeks to manage and protect natural resource , Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation ...
in the latter half of the 19th century. Rivers were rafted and mountains were climbed solely for the sake of recreation, not to determine their geographical context. In 1861, following an intense lobbying by artists (painters), the French Waters and Forests Military Agency set an "artistic reserve" in Fontainebleau State Forest. With a total of 1,097 hectares, it is known to be the first World nature reserve. Global conservation became an issue at the time of the dissolution of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
in
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

Africa
in the late 1940s. The British established great wildlife preserves there. As before, this interest in conservation had an economic motive: in this case,
big game hunting Big-game hunting is the hunting Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wildlife Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A mul ...
. Nevertheless, this led to growing recognition in the 1950s and the early 1960s of the need to protect large spaces for wildlife conservation worldwide. The
World Wildlife Fund In its most general sense, the term "world" refers to the totality of entities, to the whole of reality or to everything that is. The nature of the world has been conceptualized differently in different fields. Some conceptions see the worl ...
(WWF), founded in 1961, grew to be one of the largest conservation organizations in the world. Early conservationists advocated the creation of a legal mechanism by which boundaries could be set on human activities in order to preserve natural and unique lands for the enjoyment and use of future generations. This profound shift in wilderness thought reached a pinnacle in the US with the passage of the
Wilderness Act The Wilderness Act of 1964 () was written by Howard Zahniser of The Wilderness Society (United States), The Wilderness Society. It created the legal definition of wilderness in the United States, and protected 9.1 million acres (37,000 km²) ...
of 1964, which allowed for parts of U.S. National Forests to be designated as "wilderness preserves". Similar acts, such as the 1975 Eastern Wilderness Areas Act, followed. Nevertheless, initiatives for wilderness conservation continue to increase. There are a growing number of projects to protect tropical rainforests through conservation initiatives. There are also large-scale projects to conserve wilderness regions, such as Canada's
Boreal Forest Conservation FrameworkThe Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, was adopted December 1, 2003 to protect the Canada, Canadian boreal forest. The vision set out in the Framework is "to sustain the ecological and cultural integrity of the Canadian boreal region, in perpetui ...
. The Framework calls for conservation of 50 percent of the 6,000,000 square kilometres of boreal forest in Canada's north. In addition to the World Wildlife Fund, organizations such as the
Wildlife Conservation Society The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a non-governmental organization headquartered at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, that aims to conserve the world's largest wild places in 14 priority regions. Founded in 1895 as the New York Zoological So ...
, the WILD Foundation,
The Nature Conservancy The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a global environmental organization An environmental organization is an organization coming out of the Conservation movement, conservation or environmental movements that seeks to protect, analyse or monitor the e ...
,
Conservation International Conservation International (CI) is an American nonprofit environmental organization headquartered in Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia. Its mission is to spotlight and secure the critical benefits that nature provides to humanity, such as food, ...
,
The Wilderness Society (United States) The Wilderness Society is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the Unit ...
and many others are active in such conservation efforts. The 21st century has seen another slight shift in wilderness thought and theory. It is now understood that simply drawing lines around a piece of land and declaring it a wilderness does not necessarily make it a wilderness. All
landscape A landscape is the visible features of an area of land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea level (variable over geologic time frames) an ...

landscape
s are intricately connected and what happens outside a wilderness certainly affects what happens inside it. For example,
air pollution Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of humans and other Outline of life forms, living beings, or cause damage to the climate or to materials. There are different types of air pollutants, ...

air pollution
from
Los Angeles Los Angeles ( ; xgf, Tovaangar; es, Los Ángeles, , ), commonly referred to by the initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be u ...

Los Angeles
and the California Central Valley affects Kern Canyon and
Sequoia National Park Sequoia National Park is an American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada (U.S.), Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California. The park was established on September 25, 1890 to protect of forested mountainous terrain. Encompassing a vertica ...

Sequoia National Park
. The national park has miles of "wilderness" but the air is filled with pollution from the valley. This gives rise to the paradox of what a wilderness really is; a key issue in 21st century wilderness thought.


National parks

The creation of
National Park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state dec ...

National Park
s, beginning in the 19th century, preserved some especially attractive and notable areas, but the pursuits of
commerce Commerce is the exchange of goods and services, especially on a large scale. Etymology The English-language word ''commerce'' has been derived from the Latin word ''commercium'', from ''com'' ("together") and ''merx'' ("merchandise"). History ...

commerce
,
lifestyle Lifestyle often refers to: * Lifestyle (sociology), the way a person lives * ''Otium'', ancient Roman concept of a lifestyle * Style of life (german: Lebensstil), dealing with the dynamics of personality Lifestyle may also refer to: Business and ...
, and
recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is spent away from , , , , and , as well as necessary activities such as and ing. Leisure as an experience usuall ...

recreation
combined with increases in
human population Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A speci ...
have continued to result in human modification of relatively untouched areas. Such human activity often negatively impacts native flora and fauna. As such, to better protect critical habitats and preserve low-impact recreational opportunities, legal concepts of "wilderness" were established in many countries, beginning with the United States (see below). The first National Park was
Yellowstone Yellowstone National Park is an American national park located in the western United States, largely in the northwest corner of Wyoming and extending into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by ...

Yellowstone
, which was signed into law by U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant on 1 March 1872. The Act of Dedication declared Yellowstone a land "hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the laws of the United States, and dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people." When national parks were established in an area, the Native Americans that had been living there were forcibly removed so visitors to the park could see nature without humans present.Spence, M. D. (1996). Crown of the Continent, Backbone of the World: The American Wilderness Ideal and Blackfeet Exclusion from Glacier National Park. Environmental History, 1(3), 29–49. https://doi.org/10.2307/3985155 National parks are seen as areas untouched by humans, when in reality, humans existed in these spaces, until settler colonists came in and forced them off their lands in order to create the national parks. The concept glorifies the idea that before settlers came, the US was an uninhabited landscape. This erases the reality of Native Americans, and their relationship with the land and the role they had in shaping the landscape. Such erasure suggests there were areas of the US which were historically unoccupied, once again erasing the existence of Native Americans and their relationship to the land. In the case of Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Yosemite, the ‘preservation’ of these lands by the US government was what caused the Native Americans who lived in the areas to be systematically removed. Historian Mark David Spence has shown that the case of Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet people who live there is a perfect example of such erasure. The Blackfeet people had specifically designated rights to the area, but the 1910 Glacier National Park act made void those rights. The act of ‘preserving’ the land was specifically linked to the exclusion of the Blackfeet people. The continued resistance of the Blackfeet people has provided documentation of the importance of the area to many different tribes. The area is home to the Blackfeet people. The world's second national park, the
Royal National Park The Royal National Park is a protected national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, ...
, located just 32 km to the south of
Sydney Sydney ( ; Dharug The Darug or Dharug people are an Aboriginal Australian people, who share strong ties of kinship and, in Colonial Australia, pre-colonial times, survived as skilled hunters in family groups or clans, scattered througho ...

Sydney
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
, was established in 1879. The U.S. concept of national parks soon caught on in
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
, which created
Banff National Park Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, s ...

Banff National Park
in 1885, at the same time as the transcontinental
Canadian Pacific Railway The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) , known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996 and simply Canadian Pacific, is a historic Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be res ...
was being built. The creation of this and other parks showed a growing appreciation of wild nature, but also an economic reality. The railways wanted to entice people to travel west. Parks such as Banff and Yellowstone gained favor as the railroads advertised travel to "the great wild spaces" of North America. When outdoorsman Teddy Roosevelt became president of the United States, he began to enlarge the U.S. National Parks system, and established the National Forest system. By the 1920s, travel across North America by train to experience the "wilderness" (often viewing it only through windows) had become very popular. This led to the commercialization of some of
Canada's National Parks National Parks of Canada are protected natural spaces throughout the country that represent distinct geographical regions of the nation. Under the administration of Parks Canada, a government branch, National Parks allow for public enjoyment witho ...
with the building of great hotels such as the
Banff Springs Hotel The Fairmont Banff Springs, formerly and commonly known as the Banff Springs Hotel, is a historic hotel located in Banff, Alberta, Banff, Alberta, Canada. The entire town including the hotel, is situated in Banff National Park, a National Parks of ...

Banff Springs Hotel
and
Chateau Lake Louise The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a Fairmont hotel on the eastern shore of Lake Louise, near Banff, Alberta Banff is a town within Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. It is located in Alberta's Rockies along the Trans-Canada Highway, app ...

Chateau Lake Louise
. Despite their similar name, national parks in
England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows ...

England and Wales
are quite different from
national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state dec ...

national park
s in many other countries. Unlike most other countries, in England and Wales, designation as a national park may include substantial settlements and human land uses which are often integral parts of the landscape, and land within a national park remains largely in private ownership. Each park is operated by its own
national park authorityA national park authority is a special term used in the United Kingdom for legal bodies charged with maintaining a national park of which as of December 2016 there are ten in England, three in Wales and two in Scotland. The powers and duties of all s ...
. The United States philosophy around wilderness preservation through National Parks has been attempted in other countries.Guha, Ramachandra. "“Radical American Environmentalism and Wilderness Preservation: A Third World Critique” (1997)." ''The Future of Nature''. New Haven: Yale UP, 2017. 409-32. Web. However, people living in those countries have different ideas surrounding wilderness than people in the United States, thus, the US concept of wilderness can be damaging in other areas of the world. India is more densely populated and has been settled for a long time. There are complex relationships between agricultural communities and the wilderness. An example of this is the Project Tiger parks in India. By claiming areas as no longer used by humans, the land moves from the hands of poor people to rich people. Having designated tiger reserves is only possible by displacing poor people, who weren’t involved in the planning of the areas. This situation places the ideal of wilderness above the already existing relationships between people and the land they live on. By placing an imperialistic ideal of nature onto a different country, the desire to reestablish wilderness is being put above the lives of those who live by working the land.


Conservation and preservation in 20th century United States

By the later 19th century it had become clear that in many countries wild areas had either disappeared or were in danger of disappearing. This realization gave rise to the
conservation movement The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political, environmental, and social movement that seeks to manage and protect natural resource , Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation ...
in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, partly through the efforts of writers and activists such as
John Burroughs John Burroughs (April 3, 1837 – March 29, 1921) was an American natural history, naturalist and nature essayist, active in the U.S. conservation movement. The first of his essay collections was ''Wake-Robin'' in 1871. In the words of his biog ...

John Burroughs
,
Aldo Leopold Aldo Leopold (January 11, 1887 – April 21, 1948) was an American author, philosopher, naturalist, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin A university () is an ed ...
, and
John Muir John Muir ( ; April 21, 1838 – December 24, 1914), also known as "John of the Mountains" and "Father of the National Parks#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, crea ...

John Muir
, and politicians such as
U.S. President The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 " he head of statebeing an embodime ...
Teddy Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president o ...

Teddy Roosevelt
. The idea of protecting nature for nature's sake began to gain more recognition in the 1930s with American writers like
Aldo Leopold Aldo Leopold (January 11, 1887 – April 21, 1948) was an American author, philosopher, naturalist, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin A university () is an ed ...
, calling for a "land ethic" and urging wilderness protection. It had become increasingly clear that wild spaces were disappearing rapidly and that decisive action was needed to save them. Wilderness preservation is central to
deep ecology Deep ecology is an environmental philosophy that promotes the inherent worth of all living beings regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs, and the restructuring of modern human societies in accordance with such ideas. Deep ecolo ...

deep ecology
; a philosophy that believes in an inherent worth of all living beings, regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs. Two different groups had emerged within the US environmental movement by the early 20th century: the conservationists and the preservationists. The initial consensus among conservationists was split into "utilitarian conservationists" later to be referred to as conservationists, and "aesthetic conservationists" or preservationists. The main representative for the former was
Gifford Pinchot Gifford Pinchot (August 11, 1865October 4, 1946) was an American forester and politician. He served as the 4th Chief of the U.S. Division of Forestry, as the 1st head of the United States Forest Service The United States Forest Service (U ...
, first Chief of the United States Forest Service, and they focused on the ''proper use of nature,'' whereas the preservationists sought the ''protection of nature from use.'' Put another way, conservation sought to regulate human use while preservation sought to eliminate human impact altogether. The management of US public lands during the years 1960s and 70s reflected these dual visions, with conservationists dominating the Forest Service, and preservationists the Park Service


Formal wilderness designations


International

The
World Conservation Union The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; officially International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) is an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institut ...
(IUCN) classifies wilderness at two levels, 1a (Strict Nature Preserves) and 1b (Wilderness areas). There have been recent calls for the World Heritage Convention to better protect wilderness and to include the word wilderness in their selection criteria for Natural Heritage Sites Forty-eight countries have wilderness areas established via legislative designation as IUCN protected area management Category 1b sites that do not overlap with any other IUCN designation. They are: Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Canada, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Finland, French Guyana, Greenland, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Northern Mariana Islands, Portugal, Seychelles, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tanzania, United States of America, and Zimbabwe. At publication, there are 2,992 marine and terrestrial wilderness areas registered with the IUCN as solely Category 1b sites. Twenty-two other countries have wilderness areas. These wilderness areas are established via administrative designation or wilderness zones within protected areas. Whereas the above listing contains countries with wilderness exclusively designated as Category 1b sites, some of the below-listed countries contain protected areas with multiple management categories including Category 1b. They are: Argentina, Bhutan, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland, Uganda, Ukraine, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Venezuela, and Zambia.


Germany

The German National Strategy on Biological Diversity aims to establish wilderness areas on 2% of its terrestrial territory by 2020 (7,140 km2). However, protected wilderness areas in Germany currently only cover 0.6% of the total terrestrial area. In absence of pristine landscapes, Germany counts national parks (IUCN Category II) as wilderness areas. The government counts the whole area of the 16 national parks as wilderness. This means, also the managed parts are included in the "existing" 0,6%. There is no doubt, that Germany will miss its own time-dependent quantitative goals, but there are also some critics, that point a bad designation practice: Findings of disturbance ecology, according to which process-based nature conservation and the 2% target could be further qualified by more targeted area designation, pre-treatment and introduction of
megaherbivores In terrestrial zoology, the megafauna (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέγας ''megas'' "large" and New Latin ''fauna'' "animal life") comprises the large or giant animals of an area, habitat, or geological period. The most common thresholds used ar ...

megaherbivores
, are widely neglected. Since 2019 the government supports bargains of land that will then be designated as wilderness by 10 Mio. Euro annually. The German minimum size for wilderness candidate sites is normally 10 km2. In some cases (i.e. swamps) the minimum size is 5 km2.


France

Since 1861, the French Waters and Forests Military Agency (Administration des Eaux et Forêts) put a strong protection on what was called the « artistic reserve » in Fontainebleau State Forest. With a total of 1,097 hectares, it is known to be the first World nature reserve. Then in the 1950s, Integral Biological Reserves (Réserves Biologiques Intégrales, RBI) are dedicated to man free ecosystem evolution, on the contrary of Managed Biological reserves (Réserves Biologiques Dirigées, RBD) where a specific management is applied to conserve vulnerable species or threatened habitats. Integral Biological Reserves occurs in French State Forests or City Forests and are therefore managed by the National Forests Office. In such reserves, all harvests coupe are forbidden excepted exotic species elimination or track safety works to avoid fallen tree risk to visitors (already existing tracks in or on the edge of the reserve). At the end of 2014, there were 60 Integral Biological Reserves in French State Forests for a total area of 111,082 hectares and 10 in City Forests for a total of 2,835 hectares.


Greece

In Greece there are some parks called "ethniki drimoi" (εθνικοί δρυμοί, national forests) that are under protection of the Greek government. Such parks include: ,
Parnassos Mount Parnassus (; el, Παρνασσός, ''Parnassós'') is a mountain of limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate rock, carbonate sedimentary rock. It is composed mostly of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are differ ...

Parnassos
and
Parnitha Mount Parnitha ( ell, Πάρνηθα, , Katharevousa and grc, Πάρνης ''Parnis''/''Parnes''; sometimes Parnetha) is a densely forested mountain range north of Athens, the highest on the peninsula of Attica, with an elevation of 1,413 m, and ...

Parnitha
National Parks.


Russia

Due to Russia's size and in comparison non-dense population settlement, as well as of lack of infrastructure the country is considered one of the least explored areas and most natural places in the world.


New Zealand

There are seven wilderness areas in New Zealand as defined by the National Parks Act 1980 and the
Conservation Act 1987 The Conservation Act 1987 is New Zealand's principal act concerning the conservation of indigenous biodiversity. The Act established the Department of Conservation (who administer the Act) and Fish and Game, and complements the National Parks ...
that fall well within the IUCN definition. Wilderness areas cannot have any human intervention and can only have indigenous species re-introduced into the area if it is compatible with conservation management strategies. In
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
wilderness areas are remote blocks of land that have high natural character. The
Conservation Act 1987 The Conservation Act 1987 is New Zealand's principal act concerning the conservation of indigenous biodiversity. The Act established the Department of Conservation (who administer the Act) and Fish and Game, and complements the National Parks ...
prevents any access by vehicles and livestock, the construction of tracks and buildings, and all indigenous natural resources are protected. They are generally over 400 km2 in size.


United States

In the United States, a Wilderness Area is an area of federal land set aside by an
act of Congress An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by United States Congress, Congress. Acts can affect only individual entities (called private laws), or the general public (public laws). For a Bill (law), bill to become an act, the text must pass through ...

act of Congress
. It is typically at least 5,000 acres (about 8 mi2 or 20 km2) in size.United States National Park Service - Wilderness - Fort Pulaski National Monument https://www.nps.gov/fopu/learn/nature/wilderness.htm Human activities in wilderness areas are restricted to scientific study and non-mechanized recreation; horses are permitted but mechanized vehicles and equipment, such as cars and bicycles, are not. The United States was one of the first countries to officially designate land as "wilderness" through the
Wilderness Act The Wilderness Act of 1964 () was written by Howard Zahniser of The Wilderness Society (United States), The Wilderness Society. It created the legal definition of wilderness in the United States, and protected 9.1 million acres (37,000 km²) ...
of 1964. The Wilderness Act was—and is still—an important part of wilderness designation because it created the legal definition of wilderness and founded the National Wilderness Preservation System. The Wilderness Act defines wilderness as "an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammelled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." Wilderness designation helps preserve the natural state of the land and protects flora and fauna by prohibiting development and providing for non-mechanized recreation only. The first administratively protected wilderness area in the United States was the Gila National Forest. In 1922,
Aldo Leopold Aldo Leopold (January 11, 1887 – April 21, 1948) was an American author, philosopher, naturalist, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin A university () is an ed ...
, then a ranking member of the U.S. Forest Service, proposed a new management strategy for the Gila National Forest. His proposal was adopted in 1924, and 750 thousand acres of the Gila National Forest became the
Gila Wilderness Gila Wilderness was designated the world's first wilderness area on June 3, 1924. Along with Aldo Leopold Wilderness and Blue Range Wilderness, the (872 sq. mi.) wilderness is part of New Mexico's Gila National Forest. The wilderness is approxi ...

Gila Wilderness
. ' was the first formally designated wilderness refuge in the United States. It was declared a wildlife refuge on 3 November 1960. In 1966 it was declared a
National Natural Landmark The National Natural Landmarks (NNL) Program recognizes and encourages the conservation of outstanding examples of the natural history of the United States. It is the only national natural areas program that identifies and recognizes the best exa ...
and, in 1968, it was given wilderness status. Properties in the swamp had been acquired by a small group of residents of the area, who donated the assembled properties to the federal government as a park for perpetual protection. Today the refuge amounts to that are within thirty miles of
Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as ''The City'', is the most densely populated and geographically smallest of the five boroughs 5 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 5, five or number 5 may also refer to: * AD 5, the fifth year of the AD era ...

Manhattan
. While wilderness designations were originally granted by an Act of Congress for Federal land that retained a "primeval character", meaning that it had not suffered from human habitation or development, the Eastern Wilderness Act of 1975 extended the protection of the NWPS to areas in the eastern States that were not initially considered for inclusion in the Wilderness Act. This act allowed lands that did not meet the constraints of size, roadlessness, or human impact to be designated as wilderness areas under the belief that they could be returned to a "primeval" state through preservation. Approximately are designated as wilderness in the United States. This accounts for 4.82% of the country's total land area; however, 54% of that amount is found in Alaska (recreation and development in Alaskan wilderness is often less restrictive), while only 2.58% of the lower continental United States is designated as wilderness. Following the
Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (, ) is a land management Land management is the process of managing the use and development (in both urban and rural settings) of land resources. Land resources are used for a variety of purpose ...
there are 756 separate wilderness designations in the United States ranging in size from Florida's Pelican Island at to Alaska's Wrangell-Saint Elias at .


Western Australia

In Western Australia, a Wilderness Area is an area that has a wilderness quality rating of 12 or greater and meets a minimum size threshold of 80 km2 in temperate areas or 200 km2 in arid and tropical areas. A wilderness area is gazetted under section 62(1)(a) of the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984 by the Minister on any land that is vested in the Conservation Commission of Western Australia.


International Movement

At the forefront of the international wilderness movement has been The WILD Foundation, its founder
Ian Player Ian Cedric Audley Player DMS (15 March 1927 – 30 November 2014) was a South African international conservationist. Biography Born in Johannesburg, Player was educated at St John's College (Johannesburg, South Africa), St. John’s College, ...
and its network of sister and partner organizations around the globe. The pioneer
World Wilderness Congress The world is the Earth and all life on it, including civilization, human civilization. In a philosophical context, the "world" is the whole of the physical Universe, or an Ontology, ontological world (the "world" of an individual). In a theo ...
in 1977 introduced the wilderness concept as an issue of international importance, and began the process of defining the term in biological and social contexts. Today, this work is continued by many international groups who still look to the World Wilderness Congress as the international venue for wilderness and to The WILD Foundation network for wilderness tools and action. The WILD Foundation also publishes the standard references for wilderness professionals and others involved in the issues: ''Wilderness Management: Stewardship and Protection of Resources and Values'', the ''International Journal of Wilderness'', ''A Handbook on International Wilderness Law and Policy'' and ''Protecting Wild Nature on Native Lands'' are the backbone of information and management tools for international wilderness issues. The Wilderness Specialist Group within the
World Commission on Protected Areas The World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) is one of six commissions of the International Union for Conservation of Nature The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; officially International Union for Conservation of Nature a ...
(WTF/WCPA) of the
International Union for Conservation of Nature The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; officially International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) is an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institut ...
(IUCN) plays a critical role in defining legal and management guidelines for wilderness at the international level and is also a clearing-house for information on wilderness issues. The IUCN Protected Areas Classification System defines wilderness as "A large area of unmodified or slightly modified land, and/or sea retaining its natural character and influence, without permanent or significant habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural condition ( Category 1b)." The WILD Foundation founded the WTF/WCPA in 2002 and remains co-chair.


Extent

The most recent efforts to map wilderness show that less than one quarter (~23%) of the world's wilderness area now remains, and that there have been catastrophic declines in wilderness extent over the last two decades. Over 3 million square kilometers (10 percent) of wilderness was converted to human land-uses. The Amazon and Congo rain forests suffered the most loss. Human pressure is starting to extend into almost every corner of the planet. The loss of wilderness could have serious implications for biodiversity conservation. According to a previous study, ''Wilderness: Earth's Last Wild Places,'' carried out by
Conservation International Conservation International (CI) is an American nonprofit environmental organization headquartered in Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia. Its mission is to spotlight and secure the critical benefits that nature provides to humanity, such as food, ...
, 46% of the world's land mass is wilderness. For purposes of this report, "wilderness" was defined as an area that "has 70% or more of its original vegetation intact, covers at least and must have fewer than five people per square kilometer." However, an
IUCN The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; officially International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) is an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institut ...
/
UNEP The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is responsible for coordinating responses to environmental issues within the United Nations system. It was established by Maurice Strong Maurice Frederick Strong, (April 29, 1929 – November 27, 20 ...
report published in 2003, found that only 10.9% of the world's land mass is currently a Category 1
Protected Area Protected areas or conservation areas are locations which receive protection because of their recognized natural, ecological or cultural values. There are several kinds of protected areas, which vary by level of protection depending on the ena ...
, that is, either a ''
strict nature reserve A strict nature reserve (IUCN category Ia) or wilderness area (IUCN category Ib) is the highest category of protected area Protected areas or conservation areas are locations which receive protection because of their recognized natu ...
'' (5.5%) or '' protected wilderness'' (5.4%). Such areas remain relatively untouched by humans. Of course, there are large tracts of lands in
National Parks#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state dec ...

National Parks
and other protected areas that would also qualify as wilderness. However, many protected areas have some degree of human modification or activity, so a definitive estimate of true wilderness is difficult. The
Wildlife Conservation Society The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a non-governmental organization headquartered at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, that aims to conserve the world's largest wild places in 14 priority regions. Founded in 1895 as the New York Zoological So ...
generated a ''human footprint'' using a number of indicators, the absence of which indicate wildness: human population density, human access via roads and rivers, human infrastructure for agriculture and settlements and the presence of industrial power (lights visible from space). The society estimates that 26% of the Earth's land mass falls into the category of "Last of the wild." The wildest regions of the world include the
Arctic The Arctic ( or ) is a polar regions of Earth, polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of Alaska (United States), Canada, Finland, Greenland (Danish Realm, ...

Arctic
Tundra In physical geography Physical geography (also known as physiography) is one of the two fields of geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα ...

Tundra
, the
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region, constituting all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has been a part of R ...

Siberia
Taiga Taiga (; rus, тайга́, p=tɐjˈɡa; relates to Mongolic and Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (d ...

Taiga
, the
Amazon rainforest The Amazon rainforest, alternatively, the Amazon jungle or ; es, Selva amazónica, , or usually ; french: Forêt amazonienne; nl, Amazoneregenwoud. In English, the names are sometimes capitalized further, as Amazon Rainforest, Amazon Forest ...

Amazon rainforest
, the
Tibetan Plateau The Tibetan Plateau (, also known as the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau or the Qing–Zang Plateau () or as the Himalayan Plateau in India, is a vast elevated plateau In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and - ...
, the Australia
Outback The Outback is a remote, vast, sparsely populated area of Australia. The Outback is more remote than Australian bush, the bush, which includes any location outside the main urban areas. While often envisaged as being arid, the Outback regions ...

Outback
and deserts such as the
Sahara The Sahara (, ; ar, الصحراء الكبرى, ', 'the Greatest Desert') is a desert on the African continent Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landma ...

Sahara
, and the
Gobi The Gobi Desert () is a large desert or brushland region in East Asia. It covers parts of North China, Northern and Northeast China, Northeastern China and of Southern Mongolia. The desert basins of the Gobi are bounded by the Altai Mountains ...

Gobi
. However, from the 1970s, numerous
geoglyph A geoglyph is a large design or motif Motif may refer to: General concepts * Motif (chess composition), an element of a move in the consideration of its purpose * Motif (folkloristics), a recurring element that creates recognizable patterns in ...
s have been discovered on deforested land in the Amazon rainforest, leading to claims about
Pre-Columbian In the history of the Americas, the pre-Columbian era spans from the original settlement of North and South America in the Upper Paleolithic The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) also called the is the third and last subdivision o ...
civilizations. The BBC's '' Unnatural Histories'' claimed that the Amazon rainforest, rather than being a pristine wilderness, has been shaped by man for at least 11,000 years through practices such as
forest gardening 's forest garden in Shropshire Shropshire (; alternatively Salop; abbreviated in print only as Shrops; demonym Salopian ) is a landlocked historic county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other pu ...
and
terra preta ''Terra preta'' (, locally , literally "black soil" in Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language ** ...
. The percentage of land area designated "wilderness" does not necessarily reflect a measure of its
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the Genetics, genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near ...

biodiversity
. Of the last natural wilderness areas, the taiga—which is mostly wilderness—represents 11% of the total land mass in the Northern Hemisphere.
Tropical rainforest Tropical rainforests are rainforest Rainforests are characterized by a closed and continuous tree canopy Canopy may refer to: Plants * Canopy (biology), aboveground portion of plant community or crop (including forests) * Canopy (grape ...
represent a further 7% of the world's land base. Estimates of the Earth's remaining wilderness underscore the rate at which these lands are being developed, with dramatic declines in biodiversity as a consequence.


Critique

The American concept of wilderness has been criticized by some nature writers. For example,
William Cronon William Cronon (born September 11, 1954 in New Haven, Connecticut New Haven is a coastal city in the U.S. state of Connecticut. It is located on New Haven Harbor on the northern shore of Long Island Sound in New Haven County, Connecticut, and i ...
writes that what he calls a wilderness ethic or cult may "teach us to be dismissive or even contemptuous of such humble places and experiences", and that "wilderness tends to privilege some parts of nature at the expense of others", using as an example "the mighty canyon more inspiring than the humble marsh."The Trouble with Wilderness
University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved: 28 January 2007.
This is most clearly visible with the fact that nearly all U.S. National Parks preserve spectacular canyons and mountains, and it was not until the 1940s that a swamp became a national park—
the Everglades The Everglades is a natural region A natural region (landscape unit) is a basic geographic unit. Usually, it is a region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science de ...
. In the mid-20th century national parks started to protect
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the Genetics, genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near ...

biodiversity
, not simply attractive scenery. Cronon also believes the passion to save wilderness "poses a serious threat to responsible
environmentalism Environmentalism or environmental rights is a broad philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical real ...
" and writes that it allows people to "give ourselves permission to evade responsibility for the lives we actually lead... to the extent that we live in an urban-industrial civilization but at the same time pretend to ourselves that our real home is in the wilderness".
Michael Pollan Michael Kevin Pollan (; born February 6, 1955) is an American author and journalist A journalist is an individual trained to collect/gather information in form of text, audio or pictures, processes them to a news-worthy form and disseminate ...

Michael Pollan
has argued that the wilderness ethic leads people to dismiss areas whose wildness is less than absolute. In his book ''Second Nature'', Pollan writes that "once a landscape is no longer 'virgin' it is typically written off as fallen, lost to nature, irredeemable." Another challenge to the conventional notion of wilderness comes from Robert Winkler in his book, ''Going Wild: Adventures with Birds in the Suburban Wilderness''. "On walks in the unpeopled parts of the suburbs," Winkler writes, "I’ve witnessed the same wild creatures, struggles for survival, and natural beauty that we associate with true wilderness." Attempts have been made, as in the
Pennsylvania Scenic RiversPennsylvania Scenic Rivers are river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course withou ...
Act, to distinguish "wild" from various levels of human influence: in the Act, "wild rivers" are "not impounded", "usually not accessible except by trail", and their watersheds and shorelines are "essentially primitive". Another source of criticism is that the criteria for wilderness designation is vague and open to interpretation. For example, the Wilderness Act states that wilderness must be roadless. The definition given for roadless is "the absences of roads which have been improved and maintained by mechanical means to insure relatively regular and continuous use". However, there have been added sub-definitions that have, in essence, made this standard unclear and open to interpretation. Coming from a different direction, some criticism from the
Deep Ecology Deep ecology is an environmental philosophy that promotes the inherent worth of all living beings regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs, and the restructuring of modern human societies in accordance with such ideas. Deep ecolo ...

Deep Ecology
movement argues against conflating "wilderness" with "wilderness reservations", viewing the latter term as an oxymoron that, by allowing the law as a human construct to define nature, unavoidably voids the very freedom and independence of human control that defines wilderness. True wilderness requires the ability of life to undergo
speciation Speciation is the evolutionary process by which populations evolve to become distinct species. The biologist Orator F. Cook coined the term in 1906 for cladogenesis, the splitting of lineages, as opposed to anagenesis, phyletic evolution within ...

speciation
with as little interference from humanity as possible.
Anthropologist An anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology Anthropology is the of ity, concerned with , , , and , in both the present and past, including . studies patterns of behaviour, while studies cultural meaning, including ...

Anthropologist
and scholar on wilderness Layla Abdel-Rahim argues that it is necessary to understand the principles that govern the economies of mutual aid and diversification in wilderness from a non-anthropocentric perspective. Others have criticized the American concept of wilderness is deeply rooted in white supremacy, ignoring Native American perspectives on the natural environment and excluding people of color, especially African-Americans, from narratives about human interactions with the environment. Many early conservationists, such as Madison Grant, were also heavily involved in the eugenics movement. Grant, who worked alongside President Theodore Roosevelt to create the Bronx Zoo, also wrote The Passing of the Great Race, a book on eugenics that was later praised by Adolf Hitler. Grant is also known to have featured Ota Benga, a Mbuti man from Central Africa, in the Bronx Zoo monkey house exhibit.
John Muir John Muir ( ; April 21, 1838 – December 24, 1914), also known as "John of the Mountains" and "Father of the National Parks#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, crea ...

John Muir
, another important figure in the early conservation movement, referred to African-Americans as "making a great deal of noise and doing little work", and compared Native Americans to unclean animals who did not belong in the wilderness. Environmental history professor Miles A. Powell of Nanyang Technological University has argued that much of the early conservation movement was deeply tied to and inspired by a desire to preserve the Nordic race. Prakash Kashwan, a political science professor at the University of Connecticut who specializes in environmental policies and environmental justice, argues that the racist ideas of many early conservationists created a narrative of wilderness that has led to "fortress conservation" policies that have driven Native Americans off of their land. Kashwan has proposed conservation practices that would allow Indigenous people to continue using the land as a more just and more effective alternative to fortress conservation. Many environmental justice activists, such as Wanjiku Gatheru, have criticized the way that classic environmental texts on wilderness such as A Sand County Almanac and Desert Solitaire have presented wilderness and the environment as being completely devoid of humans, and framing environmental issues such as climate change as primarily damaging the natural environment, rather than marginalized communities. Gatheru argues that, as a result of this, many members of marginalized communities do not see themselves as being represented in mainstream narratives of wilderness and the environment. The idea that the natural world is primarily located far away from human populations has also been criticized by Gatheru as preventing African-Americans from accessing wilderness areas, as many African-Americans have reported feeling unsafe in these places. The idea that the natural world is primarily made up of remote wilderness areas has also been criticized as classist, with environmental sociologist Dorceta Taylor arguing that this leads to experiencing wilderness becoming a privilege, as working class people are often unable to afford transportation to wilderness areas. She further argues that, due to poverty and lack of access to transportation caused by systemic racism, this perception is also rooted in racism.


Human-Nature Dichotomy

Another critique of wilderness is that it perpetuates the human-nature dichotomy. The idea that nature and humans are separate entities can be traced back to European colonial views. To European settlers, land was an inherited right and was to be used to profit. While native groups saw their relationship with the land in a more holistic view, they were eventually subjected to European property systems. Colonists from Europe saw the American landscape as wild, savage, dark, [etc] and thus needed to be tamed in order for it to be safe and habitable. Once cleared and settled, these areas were depicted as “Eden itself.” Yet the native peoples of those lands saw “wilderness” as that when the connection between humans and nature is broken. For native communities, human intervention was a part of their ecological practices. There is a historical belief that wilderness must not only be tamed to be protected but that humans also need to be outside of it. In order to clear certain areas for conservation, such as national parks, involved the removal of native communities from their land. Some authors have come to describe this type of conservation as conservation-far, where humans and nature are kept separate. The other end of the conservation spectrum then, would be conservation-near, which would mimic native ecological practices of humans integrated into the care of nature.


See also

*
Aldo Leopold Aldo Leopold (January 11, 1887 – April 21, 1948) was an American author, philosopher, naturalist, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin A university () is an ed ...
* Adventure travel * Biomass * Biomass (ecology) * Bioproduct * Camping * Conservation movement * Deforestation * Ecological footprint * Environmental education * Forest * Geology * Global warming * Hiking * Intact forest landscape * John Muir Lifetime Achievement Award * Land use * Last of the Wild * Leave no trace * List of U.S. Wilderness Areas * List of conservationists * Bob Marshall (wilderness activist), Bob Marshall * National Outdoor Leadership School * National Wilderness Preservation System * ''National Wildlife Magazine'' * Native American use of fire * Natural landscape * Old-growth forest * Outdoor education * Permaforestry * Planetary habitability * Protected area * Wild fisheries * Wildcrafting *
Wilderness Act The Wilderness Act of 1964 () was written by Howard Zahniser of The Wilderness Society (United States), The Wilderness Society. It created the legal definition of wilderness in the United States, and protected 9.1 million acres (37,000 km²) ...
(1964) * Wilderness therapy * IUCN Protected Area Management Categories#Categories, Wilderness Area (Protected Area Management Category) *
World Wilderness Congress The world is the Earth and all life on it, including civilization, human civilization. In a philosophical context, the "world" is the whole of the physical Universe, or an Ontology, ontological world (the "world" of an individual). In a theo ...
*


References


Further reading

* Bill Bryson, Bryson, B. (1998). ''A Walk in the Woods''.
Casson, S. et al. (Ed.s).
(2016). Wilderness Protected Areas: Management Guidelines for IUCN Category 1b (wilderness) Protected Areas * Lee Gutkind, Gutkind, L (Ed). (2002). ''On Nature: Great Writers on the Great Outdoors''. * Kirchhoff, Thomas/ Vicenzotti, Vera 2014: A historical and systematic survey of European perceptions of wilderness. Environmental Values 23 (4): 443–464. * Nash, Roderick Frazier [1967] 2014: Wilderness and the American Mind. Fifth Edition. New Haven & London, Yale University Press / Yale Nota Bene. * Oelschlaeger, Max 1991: The Idea of Wilderness. From Prehistory to the Age of Ecology. New Haven & London, Yale University Press.


External links


IUCN Category 1a: Strict Nature Reserve

IUCN Category 1b: Wilderness Areas

The Wilderness Society

Wilderness Information Network

Wilderness Articles, Survival Techniques, Edible Plants

Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute

Wilderness Task Force/World Commission on Protect Areas

Campaign for America's Wilderness

Article: The Role of the Wilderness in Storytelling


Definitions


Detailed maps of United States wilderness designations


- Definition and discussion of wilderness as a human construction

- by Roderick Nash
The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature
by William Cronon. {{Authority control Wilderness, Global natural environment