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Assessing wilderness values – the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Australia.

  • Martin Hawes Track Management


In the first part of this study, a methodology that had been used to assess wilderness values across Australia in the early 1990s was reapplied to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The analysis revealed both gains and losses in wilderness values over the period 1995-2005, and exposed some data errors in the original survey. In the second part of the study the authors modified the methodology, principally by redefining the criteria for measuring access-remoteness. The revised methodology gives a similar picture of wilderness values overall, but it gives different weighting to some disturbances, and it highlights the impact on wilderness values of motorised boat access in coastal areas.
DECEMBER 2015 • VOLUME 21, NUMBER 3 International Journal of Wilderness 35
Assessing Wilderness Values
The Tasmanian
Wilderness World Heritage Area, Australia
e values associated with wilderness are diverse and
sometimes subtle, and cannot be fully accounted for in
quantitative terms (Landres et al. 2008). For example,
no amount of data can fully convey the ecological signif-
icance of a pristine landscape, nor can one measure the
sense of awe that a visitor might feel when standing in its
midst. It is nevertheless possible to identify some of the
key physical and geographical attributes that are necessary
and sucient for an area to qualify as wilderness, and to
a large extent it is possible to quantify these attributes.
Assessments based on such measurements can be used to
estimate the extent and quality of existing or potential
wilderness across a given region and can be a useful tool
for protecting, maintaining, and enhancing wilderness
values. In this article, the term wilderness value will be used
to denote the extent to which a place or region exhibits
key physical and geographical attributes that may dene
it as wilderness.
A number of wilderness-assessment methodologies
have been developed, ranging from simple area-counts
to complex algorithms that take a wide range of factors
into account. In the United States, for example, map-
ping methodologies have been developed to monitor and
manage wilderness character, based on indicators such as
untrammeled quality and remoteness from occupied areas
(Landres et al. 2008; Tricker et al. 2013). While some
methodologies take account only of geographical condi-
tions such as the location of roads, others incorporate
subjective assessments contributed by wilderness users
and/or the general public (Kliskey and Kearsley 1993;
Carver et al. 2002).
In the mid-1980s the Australian Heritage Commis-
sion developed a wilderness-assessment methodology as
the basis for a nationwide wilderness inventory (Lesslie
and Maslen 1995). e National Wilderness Inventory
(NWI) methodology identies remoteness and natural-
ness as the key components of wilderness value, dening
Martin Hawes. Grant Dixon.
Roger Ling.
36 International Journal of Wilderness DECEMBER 2015 • VOLUME 21, NUMBER 3
remoteness as distance from human
structures and disturbances such
as buildings, dams, and logging
areas. Rather than attempting to
distinguish wilderness from nonwil-
derness, the methodology assesses
wilderness value as a continuum
ranging from urban to pristine. e
methodology was used to assess wil-
derness value across Tasmania and
other parts of Australia in the late
1980s and 1990s, and it has since
formed the basis for several studies
in Europe (Henry and Husby 1995;
Carver et al. 2002).
Although the NWI method-
ology is the most comprehensive
wilderness-assessment methodology
yet developed in Australia, it has
some deciencies. In particular, it
takes no account of the inuence
of terrain and vegetation on access
remoteness. In an attempt to address
this deciency, British researchers
Fritz and Carver (1998) developed an
algorithm for taking walking times
into account, based on assumptions
about walking speeds across dif-
ferent gradients of terrain. Similar
algorithms have been employed in
subsequent wilderness-value surveys
(e.g., Tricker et al. 2013).
e current study focused on
the Tasmanian Wilderness World
Heritage Area (TWWHA) – a
1.4-million hectare (3.5 million
acre) region (expanded to 1.6 mil-
lion hectares in 2013 since this
study was undertaken) that encom-
passes one of the last great tracts
of temperate wilderness on Earth
(Parks and Wildlife Service 1999).
It is a wild and largely undeveloped
(i.e., free of the impacts and infra-
structure of modern civilization)
part of Tasmania, Australia’s island
state, containing a range of natural
and indigenous cultural values that
led to the listing as a World Heri-
tage Area in 1982. e landscape
includes formerly glaciated moun-
tain ranges, thickly forested valleys,
open plains, and an extensive rug-
ged coastline. While it contains in
excess of 1,300 kilometers (808
miles) of mostly rough walking
tracks (trails), much of the coun-
try is untracked. e area hence
provides some of the best opportu-
nities for self-reliant recreation in
the Australasian region.
Prior to the NWI assessment, at
least two attempts had been made
to assess the wilderness values of the
region that is now the TWWHA.
Kirkpatrick and Haney (1980)
calculated wilderness values across
a 4 kilometer x 4 kilometer (2.49
mile x 2.49 mile) grid (rened to 2
km x 2 km [1.24 mile x 1.24 mile]
where boundaries were complex).
ey dened wilderness value as
a function of the remoteness and
biophysical primitiveness of each
square, and dened remoteness as
the time required to access the loca-
tion on foot. Hawes and Heatley
(1985) took a simpler approach,
dening wilderness as land more
than eight kilometers (4.97 miles)
(nominally a half walking day) from
the nearest roads, dams, and similar
disturbances. Using this denition
they assessed the potential impact
on wilderness of projected logging
operations in areas adjacent to the
then recently listed TWWHA. e
NWI approach was applied state-
wide in 1995 as part of a process
(the Regional Forest Agreement)
to identify areas that qualied for
reservation from future industrial-
scale logging. is 1995 assessment
formed the comparative baseline for
the current study.
e rst objective of the current
study was to assess the changes in
wilderness value that had occurred
across the TWWHA since 1995 by
reapplying the NWI methodology
(as described below) to the region
using updated geodata. e second
objective was to repeat the assess-
ment of current wilderness value
using a revised methodology that
was designed to address some of the
deciencies mentioned earlier.
No attempt was made in this
study to assess the impact of view-
eld disturbances, although it was
acknowledged that development
of such a technique could enhance
future wilderness-value mapping.
Measuring Wilderness Values
Using the NWI Methodology
Component Variables of Wilder-
ness Value
In the NWI methodology, the
variable Wilderness Value (WV)
is assigned to each square in a grid
covering the region of interest. e
grid resolution can be selected to
suit the size of the region and the
resources available for the analysis. A
1 kilometer (0.62 mile) grid was used
for this study (see Map 1).
Wilderness Value was mea-
sured as the sum of four variables:
Remoteness from Settlement (RS),
Remoteness from Access (RA),
Apparent Naturalness (AN), and
Biophysical Naturalness (BN). e
rst three of these variables are
distance based, the value assigned
The NWI methodology
remains the most
comprehensive system
yet employed for
quantitatively assessing
wilderness value in
DECEMBER 2015 • VOLUME 21, NUMBER 3 International Journal of Wilderness 37
to each grid square depending
on the remoteness of the square’s
center from specied types of geo-
graphical features. Each category
of geographical feature is assigned
a weighting to reect its relative
impact on wilderness values. For
example, it is assumed that roads
have substantially greater impact
on wilderness values than walking
tracks (trails). In the formula for
calculating Remoteness from Access
(RA), walking tracks and roads are
weighted so that the impact of a
walking track one kilometer (.62
mile) distant is equivalent to that
of a major road 9 kilometers (5.59
miles) distant.
e relationship is illustrated
in Figure 1; the curves illustrate the
formulas used to calculate Remote-
ness from Access as a function of
distance from various geographic
features. For example, a location 5
kilometers (3.11 miles) from a walk-
ing track would have an RA value of
approximately 7. If the point were
also 10 kilometers (6.21 miles) from
a major road, its RA value would be
reduced to 4.
Remoteness from Settlement
is a function of the minimum map
distance from towns and smaller
settlements, weighted according to
population. Apparent Naturalness,
which is a measure of how “wild” or
“undeveloped” an area might seem to
a visitor, is a function of the distance
from the nearest nonnatural features
such as roads, impoundments, and
transmission lines.
Biophysical Naturalness values
are determined by environmental
conditions (such as logging and graz-
ing history) within each square and
measured on a scale of 1–5 with val-
ues determined by a list of condition
e study area encompassed the
entire TWWHA (as per its 2005
boundaries), together with adjacent
areas that were largely free of major
development features such as dams
or roads. Wilderness values within
the study area were calculated using
data on geographical features located
within a 30-kilometer (18.6 mile)
radius of the area.
Data Sources
e primary data source for the
study was the Tasmanian govern-
ment’s GIS database, which contains
geodata on roads, impoundments,
vegetation types, and a wide range
of other geographical features.
ese data were supplemented
by information from a variety of
sources, including satellite imagery
and local knowledge. For example,
some clearfelled (clear-cut) areas
that were visible on satellite images
but not recorded on available GIS
layers were manually traced from
georeferenced satellite imagery using
Map 1 – Distribution of wilderness values in 2005 calculated using the National Wilderness Inventory
(1995) methodology; 1-kilometer (.62 mile) grid. The maps show the TWWHA boundary in 2005, at the
time the study was undertaken. As noted in the text, the reserve was expanded somewhat in 2013.
38 International Journal of Wilderness DECEMBER 2015 • VOLUME 21, NUMBER 3
the MapInfo polygonal drawing
tool. Most of the data sources were
known to have been current in 2002
or later.
e analysis was undertaken
using MapInfo Professional software
and the scripting language MapBa-
sic. e latter was used to calculate
the minimum distance from the
centroid of each grid square in the
study area to the nearest relevant
point, polyline, or polygonal distur-
bance feature (such as a road or an
area of logged forest). e calcula-
tion was made by creating a small
circular search zone around each
centroid, and progressively increas-
ing the radius of the zone until the
relevant feature was found.
e authors had access to the
output data from the 1995 analysis,
but not to the geodata on which this
analysis was based. Hence it was pos-
sible to compare the wilderness value
measured in 1995 and 2005, but it
was not possible to explain all the
observed dierences.
Developing a Modified
Rationale for Modifying the
As noted earlier, the NWI methodology
has a number of shortcomings. e
principle shortcomings are:
1. Remoteness of Access as dened
under the NWI system is not
a reliable indicator of the time
required to access o-road areas
because it takes no account
of terrain, vegetation, or the
standard of walking tracks. For
example, two locations 5 kilo-
meters (3.11 miles) from the
nearest road can have the same
RA rating, even though one
may be accessed in a couple of
hours across open country and
the other may take days to reach
through Tasmania’s notoriously
dense vegetation.
2. e weightings assigned to some
categories of geographical feature
under the NWI methodology
are arguably inappropriate. For
example, a walkers’ hut (cabin)
has the same impact locally on
wilderness value as a major road
or hydroelectric impoundment.
Details of the Modifications
e primary modication was to
replace the variable Remoteness of
Access with a new variable, Time
Remoteness (TR), dened as the
shortest nonmechanized traveling
time from points and corridors of
mechanized access. It is possible to
write computer algorithms to calculate
Time Remoteness using GIS data on
vegetation types, terrain slopes, and
typical walking speeds (e.g., Tricker et
al. 2013). However such algorithms
can never be entirely reliable because
they cannot take account of local
(unmapped) factors such as variations
in the density of forest understory
and the impassability or otherwise
of steep terrain. ey also require
computing resources beyond those
available for the current study (Fritz
and Carver 1998).
Time Remoteness was therefore
assessed manually by the authors,
using map-based information sup-
plemented by their own rsthand
knowledge of the TWWHA. e
risk of bias in this approach was con-
sidered to be adequately minimized
by the fact that each of the authors
had walked extensively throughout
the region over a period of 40 years.
Specically, the authors identied
“contours” of access remoteness that
were respectively half a day, one day,
and two days remote by foot or raft
from the nearest point of mechanized
access, thereby dividing the region
into four zones that were subsequently
assigned numerical TR values.
Changes were also made to the
weighting conventions for RS and
AN to correct the anomalies noted
Figure 1 – Remoteness from Access varies according to the map remoteness from different types of
geographic features. For example, a location 15 kilometers (9.32 miles) from a helipad (indicated by
the red dot) would have an RA rating of approximately 7.
DECEMBER 2015 • VOLUME 21, NUMBER 3 International Journal of Wilderness 39
Map 2 – Change in wilderness values that have occurred between 1995 and 2005, calculated using the National Wilderness Inventory (1995)
methodology; 1 kilometer (.62 mile) grid.
40 International Journal of Wilderness DECEMBER 2015 • VOLUME 21, NUMBER 3
in (2), earlier. For example, small
settlements were given slightly lower
weightings relative to large towns.
e variables Remoteness from
Settlement and Apparent Natural-
ness were redened as functions
that increase asymptotically to 5
as remoteness increases. Using this
approach, changes in wilderness
value can be analyzed even in very
remote areas because the “perfect”
value of 20 can never be reached.
Assessment of Current (2005)
Wilderness Values Using the NWI
Map 1 shows the distribution of
current wilderness values using the
NWI methodology. For the sake of
simplicity, Maps 1–3 show only major
roads and towns. Wilderness Values of
less than 10 have been combined as a
single group because they correspond
to areas of low to very low wilderness
value and are of less interest in terms
of wilderness management.
Map 1 reveals that a substantial
part of the entire region has wilder-
ness value in the range of 18–20,
the highest category under the NWI
system. Areas with lower wilderness
value are located mainly around the
fringes of the region.
Note the dramatic impact of
hydroelectric impoundments, such
as the two large impoundments near
the center of the map, and of the
Lyell Highway, which dissects the
region along an east-west axis. Note
also the impact of walking tracks,
which account for the corridors of
lighter shading in some of the more
remote areas.
e isolated but substantial
“holes” in regions of high wilderness
value are mainly due to the presence
of remote buildings. e large area of
low wilderness value in the southwest
corner of the region is due to the
presence of a settlement that includes
buildings, a mine, and an airstrip.
Comparison of Wilderness Values,
Map 2 shows the changes in wilderness
value that occurred between 1995
and 2005. No signicant losses
or gains in Wilderness Value were
recorded in areas shaded with neutral
gray. e darker red areas recorded a
reduction in WV of at least 5, and
the darker green areas recorded an
increase of at least 5.
Most of the wilderness losses cor-
respond to known developments such
as recent tourist infrastructure or the
expansion of walking tracks. Some
apparent losses appear to be explained
by the omission of features such as
vehicle tracks from the original 1995
dataset. (Since the dataset is unavail-
able, this cannot be conrmed.)
Most of the gains in Wilderness
Value can be explained by the closure,
Map 3 – Distribution of wilderness values in 2005 using the revised methodology described herein; 1
kilometer (.62 mile) grid. Note the zones in this map cannot be directly compared to those in Map 1, as
they have been derived by a different methodology.
DECEMBER 2015 • VOLUME 21, NUMBER 3 International Journal of Wilderness 41
removal, or natural reclamation of
features such as vehicle tracks, air-
strips, and huts.
Assessment of Current (2005) Wil-
derness Values Using the Revised
Map 3 shows the current distri-
bution of Wilderness Values across
the TWWHA as measured by the
revised methodology. Note that
because they were derived by a
dierent methodology, the zones in
this map cannot be directly compared
to those in Map 1. While the overall
picture is not greatly dierent from
that obtained using the original
NWI methodology, closer inspection
reveals signicant dierences.
One dierence is that the revised
methodology indicates higher impacts
due to major articial features such
as roads and impoundments, and
lower impacts due to buildings and
low-grade walking tracks. Also in the
revised methodology, powered-boat
access has a major impact on wilder-
ness values on the west and southwest
coast because points on coastlines
where powered boats can easily put
ashore are assigned a Time Remote-
ness value of zero.
In some areas, signicant changes
in the distribution of Wilderness
Value are evident as a result of the
inclusion of vegetation and terrain in
the calculation of Time Remoteness.
e greatest disparity between Time
Remoteness and Remoteness from
Access occurs in the northeast of the
study area, where walking speeds are
generally quite fast (due to the rela-
tive openness of country in this area).
e NWI methodology remains
the most comprehensive system yet
employed for quantitatively assessing
wilderness value in Australia.
e main advantage of using the
methodology in its original form
is that this allows comparison with
studies that have used the same
methodology, either in other areas or
in the same area at a dierent time.
e revised methodology pro-
posed in this article corrects several
shortcomings of the NWI method-
ology. In particular, the replacement
of Access Remoteness with Time
Remoteness highlighted the impact
of mechanized boat access and
deemphasized the impact of minor
walking tracks on Wilderness Value.
If sucient resources were avail-
able, automating the assessment of
Time Remoteness would increase
the reproducibility of this variable.
is approach has been adopted, for
example, by Tricker et al. (2013) and
Carver et al. (2013). However, the
accuracy and reliability of automated
calculations will depend on the
extent to which available data such
as vegetation type and terrain maps
can be interpreted to estimate typical
walking speeds.
An important caution for any
approach to wilderness mapping
utilizing spatial data, highlighted by
Tricker et al. (2013), is to be mind-
ful of the source data (e.g., accuracy,
completeness, and scale of any GIS
layer) when considering any resul-
tant wilderness quality maps. It is
also important to note that maps
such as those derived in this study
do not necessarily represent the less
tangible or more personal qualities of
wilderness, the perception of which
inevitably varies with the individual.
e NWI and revised methodol-
ogies are based solely on geographical
data. However, both methodologies
inevitably involve subjective deci-
sions about the inuence of factors
such as accessibility and naturalness.
In future studies it may be pos-
sible to make this subjectivity more
explicit by allowing wilderness users
and other interested parties to assign
their own weightings to identied
components of wilderness value
(such as the impact of huts, tracks,
or roads), as proposed by Carver et
al. (2002) and other researchers, but
this approach does not yet seem to
have been pursued.
e wilderness concept, and wil-
derness-value mapping in particular,
has to some extent fallen out of favor
in Australia in recent years. Sawyer
(2015) postulates various reasons for
this, ranging from a narrowing view
of the rationale for conservation by
ecologists to its inconvenience for
various political agendas. Neverthe-
less public concern for wilderness
remains strong, as shown by the
controversy generated by the 2014
release of a draft management plan
for the TWWHA (ABC News 2015)
that deemphasizes wilderness and
greenlights mechanized access and
tourism development in remote areas
(DPIPWE 2014). Perhaps partly
in response to this controversy, the
Tasmanian government has now
embarked on a program to remap the
wilderness values of the TWWHA.
In a global context the impor-
tance of wilderness remains widely
recognized. Wilderness has been
assigned its own category under
IUCN’s classication system for pro-
tected areas (Dudley et al. 2012), and
wilderness preservation is an explicit
management objective for many
national parks and similar reserves
around the world (Suh and Harrison
2005). As a tool for objectively assess-
ing the likely impact of proposed
developments on wilderness quality,
and for determining the extent and
condition of the planet’s remaining
Continued on page 48
48 International Journal of Wilderness DECEMBER 2015 • VOLUME 21, NUMBER 3
wilderness areas, wilderness mapping
has the potential to play an impor-
tant role in achieving this objective.
ABC News. 2015. Retrieved from www.
Carver, S., A. Evans, and S. Fritz. 2002.
Wilderness attribute mapping in the
United Kingdom. International Journal of
Wilderness 8(1): 24–29.
Carver, S., J. Tricker, and P. Landres. 2013.
Keeping it wild: Mapping wilderness
character in the United States. Journal
of Environmental Management 131:
DPIPWE. 2014. Draft Tasmanian Wilderness
World Heritage Area Management Plan.
Hobart, Australia: Department of Primary
Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.
Dudley, N., C. Kormos, H. Locke, and V. Martin.
2012. Defining wilderness in IUCN.
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Fritz, S., and S. Carver. 1998. Accessibility as an
important wilderness indicator: Modelling
Naismith’s Rule. Retrieved from http://
Hawes, M., and D. Heatley. 1985. Wilderness
Assessment and Management: A
Discussion Paper. Hobart, Australia: The
Wilderness Society.
Henry, D., and E. Husby. 1995. Wilderness
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Kirkpatrick, J. B., and R. A. Haney. 1980.
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wilderness loss. Search 11(10): 331–335.
Kliskey, A. D., and G. W. Kearsley. 1993.
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Applied Geography 13: 203–223.
Landres, P., C. Barns, J. Dennis, T. Devine, P.
Geissler, C. McCasland, L. Merigliano, J.
Seastrand, and R. Swain. 2008. Keeping It
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Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service,
Rocky Mountain Research Station.
Lesslie, R., and M. Maslen. 1995. National
Wilderness Inventory Australia: Handbook
of Procedures, Content and Usage,
2nd ed. Canberra: Australian Heritage
Parks and Wildlife Service. 1999. Tasmanian
Wilderness World Heritage Area
Management Plan.
Sawyer, N. 2015. Wilderness quality mapping
– the Australian experience. In Science
and Stewardship to Protect and Sustain
Wilderness Values: Tenth World
Wilderness Congress Symposium, 2013,
4–10 October, Salamanca, Spain, comp.
A. Watson, S. Carver, Z. K
enová, and
B. McBride (pp. 100–108). Proceedings
RMRS-P-74. Fort Collins, CO: USDA
Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research
Suh, J., and S. Harrison. 2005. Management
Objectives and Economic Value of
National Parks: Preservation, Conservation
and Development. Discussion Paper No.
337. Queensland, Australia: School of
Tricker, J., P. Landres, J. Chenoweth, R.
Hoffman, and S. Ruth. 2013. Mapping
Wilderness Character in Olympic National
Park. Final Report. Missoula, MT: USDA
Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research
Station, Aldo Leopold Wilderness
Research Institute.
MARTIN HAWES is a Tasmanian-based
wilderness and walking tracks (trails)
management consultant, who spends
much of his spare time walking off-track;
ROGER LING is a spatial analyst at the
Parks and Wildlife Service, enjoying the
geochallenges of the Tasmanian bush;
GRANT DIXON has worked on
backcountry management issues for the
Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service for
more than 26 years but is embarking on
a new life and spending more time in
the wilderness; email grantdixon@iinet.
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... The Lake Malbena proposal is the first real test of these criteria and highlights their inadequacies. Wilderness Value (WV), the metric measuring wilderness quality or character (Hawes et al. 2015), and contains the implication that zoning is the main mechanism for protecting wilderness (Hawes et al. 2015, p. 177 There is a clear lack of independence and transparency in the RAA process. PWS is an agency within a department of the Tasmanian government, and the RAA is nonstatutory, meaning it cannot be legally challenged by a third party. ...
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Since 2014 the Tasmanian government has been inviting expressions of interest from private investors and tourism operators to “develop sensitive and appropriate tourism experiences and associated infrastructure” in reserved land across Australia’s island state. One of the responses to this invitation was a proposal for a helicopter-based luxury tourism development in a remote part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA). The development would have a major impact on wilderness values, mainly by reducing the access-time remoteness of the development site and surrounding areas. The proposal attracted widespread public opposition, particularly from wilderness enthusiasts and from recreational users of the area. The controversy highlighted a range of issues relating to wilderness protection and management including concerns about the lack of transparency in the development-proposal assessment process, the impacts of such developments on the area’s primitive and remote character, the risk of ongoing, incremental loss of wilderness values, the commercialisation of public assets, and access equity issues. When a local government authority refused permission for the development, the developer mounted an appeal. The subsequent legal challenges served to test the effectiveness of the wilderness-protection frameworks in the statutory TWWHA management plan, which were found wanting.
... 5 See for example Hawes et al. (2015) and Chapter 8 of Hawes et al. (2018). ...
Technical Report
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The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act is Australia's foremost piece of (federal) environmental legislation, and it is required to be reviewed every ten years. The current review is open to public submissions, amid concerns that the review process might lead to a 'cutting of green tape' and a watering down of environmental protections in Australia. At present, the EPBC Act makes no mention of wilderness or wilderness values. Our submission presents a broad, detailed and comprehensively researched argument for the protection of Australia's remaining wilderness areas, stressing their ecological as well as recreational and other anthropocentric values.
... This limited it to parameters that could be mapped with the available technology. The methodology has since been refined (Hawes, Ling & Dixon 2015), but we feel it is time to revisit the concept, particularly in view of our recommended definition of wilderness. ...
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There is a lack of consensus on how wilderness should be defined and this weakens the basis for effectively managing wilderness and for protecting the full range of its associated values. Wilderness is much more than just natural country. A major concern is that, while many definitions encompass ecological values, few acknowledge the significance of remoteness, a factor they argue is strongly linked to the experiential values of wilderness. After examining the implications of various approaches to defining wilderness, the authors list desirable criteria for a definition, recommend a definition of wilderness that addresses some of the deficiencies of existing definitions, and goes some way towards resolving the disparities between them. They argue that a remoteness-based approach can facilitate the protection of the range of values ascribed to wilderness.
... Madidi National Park and Natural Area of Integrated Management (Madidi NP/NAIM) incorporates approximately 19 000 km 2 across the tropical Andes in the northwest of the La Paz department in Bolivia. It is one of the most biologically diverse protected areas on the planet, where 8244 species of vascular plants, 182 mammal species and 917 species of birds have been formally registered (SERNAP 2012;Hawes et al. 2015). The park is also notable for its cultural diversity, and the communities located within and adjacent to Madidi NP/NAIM consist of multi-ethnic groups, including lowland indigenous peoples native to the region (Takana, Tsimane'-Mosetén, Leco) and highland indigenous populations (Aymara and Quechua) that have arrived in recent decades (Bottazzi 2008). ...
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Current debates in the conservation sciences argue for better integration between research and practice, often citing the importance of the diffusion, dissemination and implementation of scientific knowledge for environmental management and policy. This paper focuses on a relatively well-researched protected area (Madidi National Park) in Bolivia in order to present different interpretations and understandings of the implications and availability of research findings. We draw on findings from quantitative and qualitative methods to determine the extent to which research carried out in the region was disseminated and/or implemented for management actions, and to understand subsequent implications for how local actors perceive the value of research and its role in management and conservation. We discuss the critical consequences of these findings for the future of conservation science and practice in biologically and culturally diverse landscapes, with an explicit call to action for academic institutions to support researchers in developing appropriate dissemination strategies. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1007/s13280-018-1056-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
... Variants of this methodology have been used to assess wilderness character across Australia (Lesslie 2016) and Europe (Kuiters et al. 2013), and within a number of European countries including the United Kingdom (Carver et al. 2002), Austria (Plutzar et al. 2016), Italy (Orsi et al. 2013), and Iceland (Ólafsdóttir et al. 2016). Hawes et al. (2015) employed a modified version of the Lesslie and Maslen methodology to assess wilderness character across the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, taking into account travel times from points of mechanized access. The methodology could be refined to include assessments of the impacts of viewfield disturbances (Tricker et al. 2012;Sang 2016) and aircraft overflights (Weaver 2011;Collins 2015), taking distance factors into account. ...
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Definitions of wilderness that disregard or downplay the significance of remoteness leave wilderness vulnerable to developments that can substantially compromise its experiential values. These values are best protected by defining wilderness character in terms of naturalness and remoteness, and by making the preservation of wilderness character the primary objective of wilderness reserves.
The 79 km Overland Track is Tasmania's premier overnight walking track (trail) and one of Australia's best-known and most popular backcountry hikes. Trampling impacts (poor track condition) were recognised in the 1970s and degraded campsites were a concern by the 1980s. Despite three decades of intermittent works, many sections of track remained in poor condition in the early 2000s, but targeted works since 2006 have addressed many problem areas. Hardening of campsites at selected overnight nodes commenced in 2000 and a reduction in overall camping impacts followed, presumed due to a greater concentration of camping use at the hardened sites despite unrestricted camping still being permitted. Longitudinal monitoring of both track (8 years) and campsite (16–25 years) conditions, using relatively simple techniques, have successfully described the scale and delineated the location of changes in condition and so provided a useful planning tool for management. In particular, it has contributed to documenting a contemporaneous improvement in track and campsite conditions partly associated with a booking system to regulate walker use of the Overland Track, introduced in 2005. Booking fees have contributed to management successes by providing adequate and consistent resourcing for the repair and maintenance of walking track surface infrastructure.
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A wilderness continuum concept can identify the wilder areas of Britain. Geographical Information Systems are used to present information on these areas and solicit public opinion as to which factors are perceived to be important wilderness quality indicators. Consensus maps are compiled from a composite of individual responses and the results compared to Britain’s network of protected areas.
Keeping It Wild 2 is an interagency strategy to monitor trends in selected attributes of wilderness character based on lessons learned from 15 years of developing and implementing wilderness character monitoring across the National Wilderness Preservation System. This document updates and replaces Keeping It Wild: An Interagency Strategy for Monitoring Wilderness Character Across the National Wilderness Preservation System (Landres and others 2008), and provides a foundation for agencies to develop a nationally consistent approach to implement this monitoring. This monitoring strategy addresses two questions: How do stewardship activities affect attributes of wilderness character? How are attributes selected as integral to wilderness character changing over time within a wilderness, within an agency, and across the National Wilderness Preservation System? The primary audiences for the information from this monitoring are agency staff who manage wilderness day-to-day, and regional and national staff who develop wilderness policy and assess its effectiveness. The results of this monitoring will provide these staff some of the key data they need to improve wilderness stewardship and wilderness policy. Keeping It Wild 2 is designed to be nationally consistent across the four wilderness managing agencies and locally relevant, to be cost-effective, and to facilitate communication across the many resource programs that are responsible for preserving wilderness character. Implementing this monitoring strategy does not guarantee the preservation of wilderness character, but it informs and improves wilderness stewardship, and ensures managers are accountable to the central mandate of the 1964 Wilderness Act—to preserve wilderness character.
Characteristics related to remoteness and primitiveness - which are the two intrinsic qualities of wilderness - are quantified to provide replicable measures of wilderness resources. These measures are used to calculate the loss of the Tasmanian wilderness resource that could result from various combinations of forestry developments within present state forests, concessions and leases. Full development of forests within these limits would destroy almost a third of the present (1979) total wilderness resource of Tasmania. -Authors
A GIS-based approach is developed to identify the state of wilderness character in US wilderness areas using Death Valley National Park (DEVA) as a case study. A set of indicators and measures are identified by DEVA staff and used as the basis for developing a flexible and broadly applicable framework to map wilderness character using data inputs selected by park staff. Spatial data and GIS methods are used to map the condition of four qualities of wilderness character: natural, untrammelled, undeveloped, and solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation. These four qualities are derived from the US 1964 Wilderness Act and later developed by Landres et al. (2008a) in "Keeping it Wild: An Interagency Strategy to Monitor Trends in Wilderness Character Across the National Wilderness Preservation System." Data inputs are weighted to reflect their importance in relation to other data inputs and the model is used to generate maps of each of the four qualities of wilderness character. The combined map delineates the range of quality of wilderness character in the DEVA wilderness revealing the majority of wilderness character to be optimal quality with the best areas in the northern section of the park. This map will serve as a baseline for monitoring change in wilderness character and for evaluating the spatial impacts of planning alternatives for wilderness and backcountry stewardship plans. The approach developed could be applied to any wilderness area, either in the USA or elsewhere in the world.
New Zealand's wilderness areas are coming under increased pressure from both overseas and domestic tourists. At present, a limited number of Wilderness Areas are strictly defined in objective, physical terms, but a growing body of research suggests that wilderness conditions are perceived differently by different people. This paper takes a survey of wilderness imagery from among backcountry users and demonstrates how this can be related to four levels of wilderness perception. These are measured in terms of the artefacts, remoteness, naturalness and solitude that each group requires, or will accept, in a wilderness setting, as they perceive it. Using the northwestern South Island region of Nelson as an example, quantifiable indicators for each wilderness property are devised, and plotted for each purism class, using a GIS approach. Perceived wildernesses for each group are overlaid to provide a map of multiple perceptions of wilderness, and the value of this for management is discussed.
This article discusses distinctions between management objectives and economic values in the uses of National Parks. The authors use historical and philosophical resources in the presentation of ideas. The article reviews some issues relating to the foundations of National Park administration, describing the distinction between preservation and conservationism and their connections to ecocentrism, anthropocentrism and deep ecology. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has established a six-category system of protected areas to clarify the differences between various objectives for protected areas including National Parks. National Parks are designated for three primary management objectives with equal emphasis on each, viz. preservation of species and genetic diversity; maintenance of environmental services; and tourism and recreation. Secondary objectives of National Parks include scientific, educational, spiritual and aesthetic uses, which are likely compatible with the primary goals. However, it is often questioned whether the primary goals are able to coexist among themselves. For example, recreational uses are often in conflict with the preservation goal. The management objectives for National Parks can be rearranged into three components, viz. preservation, conservation and public use. In the literature, the economic value of natural resources is often classified into direct use value, indirect use value, option value, bequest value and existence value. This value typology has widespread a misconception that each individual economic value category additively counts towards the total economic value. In a way of avoiding this confusion, the economic value of National Parks is to be grouped into three categories. They are preservation value, conservation-based use value and development-based use value. This typology employs the everyday speech and matches the IUCN classification of National Parks management objectives. More importantly, this classification clearly reveals that the economic value of National Parks is not the additive sum of the component values, because of incompatibility between the values pursued in the management of National Parks. Multiple management objectives for National Parks defined by IUCN are increasingly being integrated within domestic legislation by a number of countries in the world. The materials integrated in this article will help administration authorities of National Parks to shape up appropriate National Parks management strategies.
Wilderness Continued from ASSESSING WILDERNESS VALUES, page 41 quality mapping in the Euro-Arctic Barents region: A potential management tool
  • D Henry
  • E Husby
Henry, D., and E. Husby. 1995. Wilderness Continued from ASSESSING WILDERNESS VALUES, page 41 quality mapping in the Euro-Arctic Barents region: A potential management tool. Retrieved from userconf/proc95/to150/p113.html.
National Wilderness Inventory Australia: Handbook of Procedures, Content and Usage Canberra: Australian Heritage Commission. Parks and Wildlife Service
  • R Lesslie
  • M Maslen
Lesslie, R., and M. Maslen. 1995. National Wilderness Inventory Australia: Handbook of Procedures, Content and Usage, 2nd ed. Canberra: Australian Heritage Commission. Parks and Wildlife Service. 1999. Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan.
Wilderness Assessment and Management: A Discussion Paper
  • M Hawes
  • D Heatley
Hawes, M., and D. Heatley. 1985. Wilderness Assessment and Management: A Discussion Paper. Hobart, Australia: The Wilderness Society.