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Mapping wilderness in Europe with special focus on wilderness register

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Mapping wilderness in Europe with special focus on wilderness register

  1. 1. The Wilderness Continuum and its practical implications for wilderness protection Steve Carver Director, Wildland Research Institute
  2. 2. Outline • Wilderness and the continuum concept • Approaches to mapping • Patterns and distribution of wilderness – Environmental gradients – Scaling issues • Informing decisions
  3. 3. Defining wilderness “Wordle” based on European, US and Australian wilderness definitions
  4. 4. SCALE! Challenging Solitude Remoteness Flora & fauna Natural processes Lack of human influence
  5. 5. Nature and landscape • Two views of wild(er)ness... – Biophysical/ecological wild – Perceived/aesthetic wild • Influence how we map the wilderness continuum – Choice of attributes – Need for proxy variables
  6. 6. Australian National Wilderness Inventory (after Lesslie and Maslen, 1993)
  7. 7. Global wilderness continuum (after Lesslie, 2000)
  8. 8. European wilderness indicator (after Kuiters et al, 2014)
  9. 9. UK wilderness continuum (after JMT, 2010)
  10. 10. Scotland wilderness continuum (after SNH, 2011)
  11. 11. Cairngorms National Park wilderness continuum (after Carver et al, 2010)
  12. 12. Austrian wilderness continuum (after Plutzar, 2013)
  13. 13. Single vs multi-attribute models • Single variable models: – Roadless areas • Multiple variable models: – Remoteness (settlement, roads, accessibility) – Naturalness (land cover, lack of human features)
  14. 14. Weighting issues? CDoifrmfep raeornseciatees • Different priorities? • Example: Scotland
  15. 15. Poselství from Prague 12. Finalisation of a definition of wilderness and wild areas, taking into account the globally agreed definitions, criteria and characteristics and the continuum of natural habitats and ecological processes, the range of ecological and cultural interpretations of these terms and their application in different parts of Europe. 13. Compilation of a Register of Wilderness using existing databases, such as the EEA and WDPA, identifying in tandem with appropriate interested parties the remaining areas of wilderness and wildlands, the threats and opportunities related to these, and their economic values, with practical recommendations for action. 14. Completion of mapping wilderness and wildland areas in Europe, involving appropriate definitional and habitat criteria and level of scale to effectively support plans for protecting and monitoring such areas. 15. Identification of key opportunities for prospective restoration of wild natural habitats and processes, involving mapping, biodiversity design and benefit assessment for relevant parties including local landholders and communities.
  16. 16. Participatory exercise!
  17. 17. Informing decisions • Development control • Designation • Identification of boundaries • Zonation • Protection measures • Connectivity • Targeted rewilding
  18. 18. Iceland: Fewer protected areas Lots of wilderness Mostly undesignated Much opportunity for extended designation Northern Scandinavia: Many protected areas Lots of wilderness Some protected, some unprotected Opportunity for extended designation
  19. 19. Scotland: Many Natura 2000 areas Some wild land Some protected, some unprotected Opportunity for further protection BENELUX countries: Many protected areas No wilderness (except marine) Only marine wilderness protected Main focus on rewilding
  20. 20. Conclusions • Use GEOGRAPHY as basis for informed decision-making • Ways forward for European WQI – Identifying wilderness areas in need of protection, improvement and expansion – Use WQI as the basis for improved connectivity – Intelligent targeting of rewilding activities
  21. 21. Improve Expand Create Connect
  22. 22. Any Questions?

Notas del editor

  • As part of the new Wilderness Register for Europe, we have created a wilderness index based on combining spatial datasets on various attributes of European wilderness; namely, naturalness of vegetation, remoteness from settlement and other human infrastructure, and remoteness from roads (mechanised access).
    #1-2. Maps of land cover, potential natural vegetation and grazing intensity are first combined to produce a map of overall naturalness of vegetation.
    #3-4. This map is then combined with the maps of remoteness from settlement and infrastructure and remoteness from roads…
    #5. …to give a final wilderness index for Europe.
    #6. This is then classified to identify the top 1, 5 and 10% wildest areas in Europe. There is an obvious latitudinal and altitudinal pattern with the vast majority of wilderness areas shown in northern latitudes (northwest Europe… Scandinavia and NW Scotland), and in mountain areas further south (Pyrenees, Alps, Carpathians).
  • Again, at the continental scale, the detail is a little hard to see, so by zooming in to particular regions we can get a better feel for the problem. Here the focus is on the wilderness areas of northern latitudes. Iceland has comparatively few protected areas, but a lot of wilderness that is currently left mostly undesignated (though Iceland does have wilderness protection laws). In northern Scandinavia, the picture is mixed, with some large areas protected by Natura 2000 and local designations, but some significant wilderness areas still undesignated.
  • Some countries returned no or comparatively few wilderness areas to the Register. Scotland (along with the rest of the UK) was unable to return any areas, yet has some relatively large areas of “wild land” significant areas of which can be seen to be lacking protection. The “low countries” have very little wilderness (except marine areas) but a relatively large number of protected areas. The emphasis here is rightly on rewilding or habitat restoration. However, where significant areas of high wilderness quality land exist, such as in the high latitude/high altitude areas, the emphasis ought to be on protection leaving rewilding initiatives to focus on marginal areas, abandoned farmland, and linking core wild areas with ecological corridors, wildlife friendly landscapes and stepping stones. Real wilderness should be designated as such, protected and largely left alone.

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