Skip to main content.
Enviropaedia Sponsors and Supporters

Wilderness Area

Author: Andrew Muir ~ Wilderness Foundation

( Article Type: Explanation )

Wilderness means different things to many people. The best way to explain what a wilderness area is, is to look at the legal definition of these areas. Under the IUCN’s Framework for Protected Areas the highest form of protection an area can achieve is a Wilderness Area. This is described as a large area of unmodified or slightly modified land and/or sea which retains its natural character and influence and which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural condition.

Why do we need to protect wilderness?
The Earth is a complex relationship between land, air, water and living things. As users of the Earth’s resources, humans have a direct impact on these relationships. We need to allow ecological and biological processes to carry on unhindered by man to ensure that there is adequate opportunity for evolutionary adaptation. Wilderness provides protection for many resources that we, as a species, have come to take for granted, such as a supply of fresh, clean water and unpolluted air.

Wilderness offers untold scientific value; knowledge of the Earth gives us a growing understanding of the way global systems work and helps us make the choice about how to use the Earth today and safeguard it for tomorrow.

Wilderness provides exciting recreational activities and a place to experience solitude and freedom.