Wilderness faces global threats

Recent research from the European Wilderness Society indicates that Wilderness is threatened at a global level. The research focused on the Wilderness in Europe, the United States and analysed the situation on a global level. The paradox is that the threats often come from those who should aim to steward Wilderness: governments and management bodies.

The first remarkable finding is the frequent believe of Wilderness stewards that Wilderness ecosystems need active management. The second finding describes the continuous demand for extractive use of natural resources in Wilderness. Most of all, this includes logging, grazing or even oil and gas drilling.

It is important to note the similar tendencies of extractive use in Europe and beyond. Or, to say it in other words: the human society is extremely hungry for natural resources,

said Vlado Vancura, European Wilderness Society Deputy Chairman

Please read also: Threatening Wilderness in World Heritage Network

Wilderness needs our help

People rely on and believe in existing networks of protected areas. Especially on the internationally known and global networks. They believe that global networks guarantee the protection of these areas. However, upon visiting and experiencing Wilderness, people may come to a surprise. Ideally, they plan the hours-long hike without seeing forest roads, motorised vehicles, grazing domestic animals or hunters with the rifle on their shoulders. However, a visit to an international Wilderness Protected Area does not always fulfil the expectations. Neither a visit to a core zone of Biosphere Reserves or natural and mixed World Heritage sites.

There seems to be one reason why Wilderness in threatened in Europe, the US and even globally. Many measures and tools for the protection of Wilderness, on national and international levels, are not very effective. Therefore, the Wilderness need our urgent help.

Continuous monitoring

The objective of the European Wilderness Network is to protect European Wilderness and minimise people’s dissatisfaction. As a result, the European Wilderness Society offers continuous monitoring for partners of the European Wilderness Network. This monitoring aims to secure the Wilderness quality or, if necessary, to adjust the Wilderness label to the changes. Since Wilderness is an open-ended process, there can be changes in habitats, population sizes or even distributions. Yet, this is all part of the process, as long as they are caused naturally.

Vlado Vancura

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

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