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Are wildland watersheds safest and best?Author(s): Lawrence S. Hamilton
Source: In: Watson, Alan; Sproull, Janet; Dean, Liese, comps. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress symposium; September 30-October 6, 2005; Anchorage, AK. Proceedings RMRS-P-49. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 545-549
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (285 B)
DescriptionThe 2003 International Year of Freshwater highlighted the critical current and future scenario, on a global scale, of scarcity of adequate water—the essential need for all living things. About 40 percent of the world’s population currently have moderate to high water stress, and it is estimated that by 2025 about two-thirds of the world will live in areas facing such water stress.
Within a given climate and physiographic situation, the human land use (or lack of it, as in wild lands) strongly influences the available quantity and quality of water. After briefly discussing the impacts of various land uses, it is concluded that wild land (or wilderness) is the hydrologically safest and best allocation of land. This is examined from the standpoints of wetlands, headwaters (including montane cloud forests) and the surface waters themselves. While sustainable use, and providing livelihoods to local people are desirable goals, there are just some situations where human use must surely give way or be strictly controlled, if water and its services are to play their full, critical role. Where highest quality and best regulated water is a necessity, wildlands or wilderness is the way to go. Examples of water resources protection giving opportunity for wilderness designation and protection are presented, for example, in New York State’s Adirondack Forest Preserve.
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CitationHamilton, Lawrence S. 2007. Are wildland watersheds safest and best?. In: Watson, Alan; Sproull, Janet; Dean, Liese, comps. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress symposium; September 30-October 6, 2005; Anchorage, AK. Proceedings RMRS-P-49. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 545-549
Keywordswilderness, biodiversity, protected areas, economics, subsistence, tourism, traditional knowledge, community involvement, policy, stewardship, education, spiritual values
- Theory and practice to conserve freshwater biodiversity in the Anthropocene
- Disturbance, scale, and boundary in wilderness management
- Disturbance, Scale, and Boundary in Wilderness Management
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