Addressing weak legal protection of wilderness: Deliberate choices and drawing lines on the map


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Wilderness areas are characterized by a relatively high degree of naturalness, the absence of proof of modern human society (e.g., roads, buildings, bridges, motorized transportation) and a relatively large size (IUCN 2008). Worldwide, wilderness areas are becoming more scarce and this article focuses on the role of law in protecting such areas. The discussion starts with an analysis of the historic human-nature attitude in Western society and how this attitude has influenced legal concepts regarding private property on land and territorial sovereignty. It will be shown that these concepts have stimulated active land transformation by humankind and that (as a consequence) wilderness protection is not embedded in our Western legal roots. Next, the discussion focuses on the response to the increasing awareness of the downside of modern human civilization: a changing human-nature attitude in the Nineteenth Century and the adoption of a large number of international nature protection conventions in the Twentieth Century. However, all this ‘law making’ has not resulted in comprehensive wilderness protection at the global or regional level, which may be explained by a number of important weaknesses in these conventions and their implementation. Probably, many of these weaknesses have much to do with weaknesses of humankind itself, such as the difficulty to accept limitations to our social and economic ambitions and our disability to deal with accumulative impacts. Against the background of these discussions, the final part of this chapter discusses options for strengthening wilderness protection with an emphasis on the importance of making deliberate policy choices to protect wilderness.
Originele taal-2English
TitelMapping wilderness
SubtitelConcepts, techniques and applications
RedacteurenSteffen Fritz, Stephen Carver
Plaats van productieDordrecht
Aantal pagina's20
ISBN van elektronische versie978-94-017-7399-7
ISBN van geprinte versie978-94-017-7397-3, 978-94-024-1342-7
StatusPublished - 2016
Extern gepubliceerdJa

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