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.