Europe is a very densely settled land, and land use patterns have shaped and transformed virtually every corner of this continent. Only very few areas have been left relatively untouched. These areas, if properly managed, have the potential to become part of the European Wilderness Network, which is a network composed of extremely rare Wilderness.
To unify the understanding and interpretation of what is European Wilderness, the European Wilderness Definition was agreed. Despite this, people working within the field of European Wilderness experience many interpretations of European Wilderness. Therefore to avoid this flexible interpretation of European Wilderness, which can diminish its potential, the European Wilderness Society created the European Wilderness Standard and Audit. This is a tool that enables a standardised and unified quality of Wilderness across Europe.
For further information please also read: Lessons Learned: European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit Of Wilderness
European Wilderness International Standard
A standard is generally a set of rules, directives or prescriptions to help people to understand, interpret and act alike. The international standard is a tool helping people to understand and interpret the same subjects (Wilderness) equally in multiple countries, or even globally. An international standard is usually developed by a team of international experts and organisations.
The European Wilderness Quality Standard is an international standard describing and explaining quality attributes of the European Wilderness. This standard was developed by a team of Wilderness experts and relevant organisations from many European countries, who represented different professions and opinions Wilderness.
European Wilderness International Audit
An audit is a systematic and independent examination of relevant documents and processes to determine how these are in line with the standard. An international audit is a systematic and independent quality check carried out by a team of international experts.
The European Wilderness Audit is an international audit developed by our organisation to check if a nominated European Wilderness area fits to the European Wilderness Quality Standard. All areas fitting to this standard can become a member of the European Wilderness Network.
Importance of the European Wilderness Standard and International Audit
The European Wilderness Standard and International Audit is an important tool to identify and protect European Wilderness. Wilderness is lost every day, despite extensive nature conservation legislation all over Europe. The reasons for this are various. Sometime a natural event like a massive windstorm in the Slovakian Wilderness, or people attempt to restore the changed water balance in the Estonian Wilderness, or people try to forcibly revive mountain grazing in the Alps and Carpathians.
With a certain level of simplification we can say that all Audited Wilderness has an equal quality. That means that the visitor of Wilderness in Central Europe, Scandinavia or the Mediterranean experiences the same quality of Wilderness. In practice this means that the Wilderness visitor will not meet hunters with rifles, will not see grazing domestic animals, or will not be disturbed by vehicles. The Audited Wilderness area is well marked, and the visitor is aware of when they enter and leave the Wilderness.