European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System process

The comprehensive European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System process

The Wilderness Audit System is implemented in steps along the Wilderness Continuum. From candidate to Quick- or Full-Audit, from smaller to larger, from management to stewardship. The European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System process has different variants depending on size and objectives of the Wilderness or Wild Area: The European Wilderness Quality Standard Quick-Audit and the European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit

Wilderness Candidate

At the beginning, it is important to formulate a clear Wilderness vision for the area. Based on this vision, several steps take place: an initial examination of the area, workshops with the management team, analysis of available and Wilderness relevant research, trainings with a focus on: Wilderness management plan to Wilderness stewardship plan transition, Wilderness inventory, defined boundary of Wilderness as a result of mapping, etc.

After these steps, the area becomes designated as a European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System Candidate. During the following 2-3 years, various actions take place, such as the development of a Wilderness stewardship plan, a management plan for invasive species, a fire control management plan and a Wilderness restoration plan, in order to prepare the area for an audit.

After 2-3 years, the area will be examined according to the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System (either Quick- or Full-Audit). Based on the results of this process, the area will be labeled in the relevant Wilderness category.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Quick-Audit

This is for most larger areas typically the first step in the Wilderness audit process. In addition, the European Wilderness Quality Standard Quick-Audit is the perfect tool for most smaller wild areas with an exceptional high quality of Wilderness but limited budgets that are interesting in joining the European Wilderness Network and to prepare them for the full implementation of the European Wilderness Quality Standard.

During the European Wilderness Quality Standard Quick-Audit, the auditors will examine all relevant documents and cover the following topcis:

  • Examination of the map of the proposed Wilderness,
  • A short analysis of the zoning system (particularly conditions of the Wilderness zone),
  • The compatibility and size differences between zoning of the audited protected area and the Wilderness zoning of the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System
  • The management plan for the potential Wilderness,
  • Its biodiversity and tourism value,
  • The potential for enlargement of the proposed Wilderness,
  • A detailed itinerary of the Quick-Audit,
  • A 3-5 day field audit of the proposed Wilderness,
  • A 6-page summary of the European Wilderness Quality Standard Quick-Audit results based upon 9 principles, 54 criteria and numerous indicators.
  • A short list of the main recommendations based on the Quick-Audit and
  • A preliminary Wilderness Quality categorisation according to the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System for a maximum of  5 years.

The European Wilderness Quality Standard Quick-Audit provides an opportunity for the audited Wilderness to correct weaknesses before undergoing a full certification according to the  European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit. In addition, the European Wilderness Quality Standard Quick-Audit also helps to better understand the strong and weak points of an audited Wilderness before deciding for a comprehensive Wilderness management approach.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit

The European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit is a systematic and professional examination for larger Wilderness focusing on a high Quality of Wilderness and protected areas already dedicated to a Wilderness management approach. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit includes additional to the above mentioned topics issues like:

  • An executive summary,
  • Comprehensive maps and photos depicting the visual highlights of the audited Wilderness,
  • A detailed scientific explanation of the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System in the context of current Wilderness research,
  • The history of Wilderness protection in Europe,
  • A more detailed explanation of the verification team and their itinerary,
  • A highly detailed biodiversity description of the habitat of the audited Wilderness.
  • A detailed description of the legal structure, the stewardship, the tourism and the educational programmes of the audited Wilderness.
  • A 12-14 day field audit of the proposed Wilderness,
  • A 150-page highly detailed analysis of the European Wilderness Quality Standard Quick-Audit results based upon 9 principles, 54 criteria and almost 300 indicators.
  • A detailed SWOT analysis with recommendations for action,
  • A Wilderness quality categorisation according to the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System for a minimum of 10 years,
  • Comprehensive communication support with public relations, promotional material like flags, folders, stickers, and listing in the European Wilderness Network,
  • A monitoring and evaluation plan by the European Wilderness Society.

The certification of this Full Audit is valid for ten years with a free monitoring audit  update after five years. The European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit involves a minimum of 12 days field work including overnight stays in the area, 6 months of research and desk work and recommendations based upon a highly detailed Wilderness Strength, Weakness, Threats and Opportunities analysis report.

All such audited areas become members in the European Wilderness Network.

Download the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System Version 1.7.1 below

%d bloggers like this: