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    Author(s): Nick Sawyer
    Date: 2015
    Source: In: Watson, Alan; Carver, Stephen; Krenova, Zdenka; McBride, Brooke, comps. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Tenth World Wilderness Congress symposium; 2013, 4-10 October, Salamanca, Spain. Proceedings RMRS-P-74. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 100-108.
    Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (757.35 KB)

    Description

    By 1995 wilderness quality maps developed under the Australian Government's National Wilderness Inventory (NWI) program had been published for most of Australia, but few traces of the NWI now remain and the word "wilderness" has become almost unmentionable in government and professional land management circles. Yet its popular appeal is demonstrated by its continuing frequent use in tourism industry advertising for natural areas. This study explores this remarkable rise and fall. It establishes that there appears to have been a decision by Australian Government in the late 1990s to avoid any further official reference to wilderness because the concept of wilderness represented an ongoing constraint on development and was not acceptable to sections of the Aboriginal community. The widespread acceptance of biodiversity as a scientifically justifiable rationale for conservation provided an opportunity to discard this troublesome concept. The NWI, as the means of quantifying this concept, was necessarily discarded too. The study concludes that the demise of the wilderness1 concept was not justified. The benefits of wilderness areas may have been overstated in the past but they remain irreplaceable for inspiration and recreation, and valuable for conservation, and wilderness quality mapping remains essential for identifying and monitoring them.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Sawyer, Nick. 2015. Wilderness quality mapping - the Australian experiences. In: Watson, Alan; Carver, Stephen; Krenova, Zdenka; McBride, Brooke, comps. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Tenth World Wilderness Congress symposium; 2013, 4-10 October, Salamanca, Spain. Proceedings RMRS-P-74. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 100-108.

    Keywords

    wilderness, rewilding, restoration, private lands, biodiversity, conservation, protected areas, economics, community involvement, policy, stewardship, education, spiritual values

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