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Understanding the transformative aspects of the Wilderness and Protected Lands experience upon human health

Author(s):

Alan Ewert
Jillisa Overholt
Alison Voight
Chun Chieh Wang

Year:

2011

Publication type:

Proceedings (P)

Primary Station(s):

Rocky Mountain Research Station

Source:

In: Watson, Alan; Murrieta-Saldivar, Joaquin; McBride, Brooke, comps. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Ninth World Wilderness Congress symposium; November 6-13, 2009; Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Proceedings RMRS-P-64. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 140-146.

Description

Wilderness and Protected Landscapes (WPLs) have long been considered special areas for a variety of reasons including baseline data, impact analyses, protected zones, and other tangible and intangible values. Another salient, and some would argue, a more important value offered through WPLs is that of human transformation. Accordingly, three theories have provided the bulk of the explanatory framework regarding the connection of WPL to human health: (1) attention restoration theory (ART), (2) psycho-evolutionary theory (PET), and (3) intentionally designed experiences (IDE). Transforming experiences associated with WPLs are often strongly related to emotion, affect, and social cognitive variables, such as developmental/therapeutic health, physical health, self-sufficiency, and educational, spiritual, and aesthetic/creativity benefits. The relationship between these types of experiences and transformations of attitude, beliefs, and behaviors in human populations is presented. The Eastern religions, such as Hinduism, Taoism, and Buddhism, and their erudite philosophers, have a long historic link to health, spiritualism, and wilderness environments. In response to this fact, this paper will discuss wilderness and human transformation from both the familiar Western concepts as well as an international (Asian) perspective on wilderness and transformative experiences.

Citation

Ewert, Alan; Overholt, Jillisa; Voight, Alison; Wang, Chun Chieh. 2011. Understanding the transformative aspects of the Wilderness and Protected Lands experience upon human health. In: Watson, Alan; Murrieta-Saldivar, Joaquin; McBride, Brooke, comps. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Ninth World Wilderness Congress symposium; November 6-13, 2009; Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Proceedings RMRS-P-64. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 140-146.

Publication Notes

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/38787