We are often asked what the benefits of Wilderness are, not only for biodiversity but for society in general.

This process is reflecting a growing interest particularly by younger generations. Experts from different fields are reconsidering their traditional approach to Wilderness and their specific subject of expertise.

The result of this increased interest in Wilderness is a growing number of researchers, teachers or managers focusing on wilderness but also a growing amount of arguments why Wilderness is important for biodiversity, ecological integrity and also for producing wide array of ecosystems services.

Mr. Tomáš Olšovský is one of many representatives of this younger (Wilderness) generation. Tomáš studied forestry at Technical University in Zvolen, Slovakia and gained his Ph.D. at the Institute of Forest Ecology in Zvolen. He is working in State Nature Conservation of Slovak Republic as a professional manager in the protected area “Záhorie”.

He cooperates in many projects, which are targeted on restoration of the habitats with a high diversity of species. He is interested in the biology and geographical distribution of rare beetle communities, especially species that live in deadwood in forested habitats.

He is particularly involved in the biology, geographical distribution of rare beetle communities, especially species that live in dead wood.  All this background and work led him to the believe that Wilderness has an enormous benefit to protect biodiversity – the main objective of global conservation strategy.

He put together a list of the arguments why Wilderness is so important, here it is:

Wilderness

  • provides safe homeland for protection of hundreds plant and animal species, that live in old and natural-structured forests or in other natural habitats
  • supports the measures to decrease the biodiversity loss
  • protects old growth and natural forests or other habitats
  • involves scientists and scientific institutions to the process to obtain professional knowledge on topics such as non-intervention regime, wilderness, issues around climate change, bark beetles management, water conservation, protection of the watershed areas
  • encourages targeting scientific research on the “areas of conflict” (for example the areas attacked by bark beetle) so that biologist and nature conservationist can respond to different, often confusing arguments of others land managers
  • increase the chance to better understand functioning of protected areas across different habitats in different European countries
  • provide opportunities to experience Wilderness personally

All this knowledge and information can be transferred

  • to the protected area zoning system, as the Wilderness should be the central theme in many large protected areas
  • to identify the long-term vision of the protected araes
  • to meet the European Wilderness Quality Standard

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About Author

Vlado Vancura is the Deputy Chairman and Director of wilderness of the European Wilderness Society and is based in Liptovsky Hradok, Slovakia.

2 Comments

  1. I have been privileged to have been involved in Wilderness education and experiences over many years here in South Africa. If only people could spend some quality time with someone educated in what they are looking at and who could identify and explain the intricate balances between species of insects, animals and plants. People need to discover for themselves what peace there can be in silence and view the wonderful biodiversity in nature and natural areas. Norman Doak, Johannesburg, South Africa

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