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A Computer-based Method of Wilderness Evaluation

  • Robert G. Lesslie (a1), Brendan G. Mackey (a1) and Kathryn M. Preece (a2)

Extract

With ever-increasing demands being made on remote and natural lands, planners and managers require more detailed information than hitherto to assist them in monitoring the status of this wilderness resource and developing appropriate and effective management prescriptions. These requirements are addressed by a computer-based wilderness evaluation procedure that has been developed for a national wilderness survey of Australia.

The methodology, based on the wilderness continuum concept (Lesslie & Taylor, 1985), places emphasis on measuring variation in wilderness quality by using four indicators that represent the two essential attributes of remoteness and naturalness. This permits a precise assessment to be made of the wilderness resource, revealing those factors which contribute to or compromise wilderness quality. The computer-based storage and analysis of data enables surveys to be conducted over large, even continental, areas, yet at a relatively fine level of resolution that is appropriate to localized planning needs.

Trial application to the State of Victoria, Australia, demonstrates that the survey procedure can be successfully adapted to a wide range of environments, use-patterns, data-base characteristics, and management objectives, which should be applicable and very widely useful elsewhere.

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References

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Australia, Committee of Inquiry into the National Estate (1974). Report of the National Estate. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra ACT, Australia: 415 pp., illustr.
Australia, Council of Nature Conservation Ministers (1986). Identification and Management of Wilderness Areas in Australia: A Report by the CONCOM Working Group on Management of National Parks. Department of Arts, Heritage and Environment, Canberra ACT, Australia: 7 pp.
Feller, M., Hooley, D., Dreher, T., East, I. & Jung, R. (1979). Wilderness in Victoria: An Inventory. Monash University Geography Department, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: ix + 84 pp., illustr.
Hawes, M. & Heatley, D. (1985). Wilderness Assessment and Management. The Wilderness Society, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia: 31 pp., illustr.
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Lesslie, R.G., Mackey, B.G. & Preece, K.M. (1987). A Computer-based Methodology for the Survey of Wilderness in A ustralia. Unpublished report to the Australian Heritage Commission, Canberra ACT, Australia: 41 pp., illustr. (mimeogr.).
Messer, J. & Mosley, J.G. (1980). The Value of National Parks to the Community. Australian Conservation Foundation, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: 223 pp., illustr.
Preece, K.M. & Lesslie, R.G. (1987). A Survey of Wilderness Quality in Victoria. Ministry for Planning and Environment, Victoria, and Australian Heritage Commission, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: viii + 67 pp., illustr.
Russell, J.A., Matthews, J.H. & Jones, R. (1979). Wilderness in Tasmania. Occ. Pap. University of Tasmania, Centre for Environmental Studies, 10, 103 pp., illustr.

A Computer-based Method of Wilderness Evaluation

  • Robert G. Lesslie (a1), Brendan G. Mackey (a1) and Kathryn M. Preece (a2)

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