Rocky Mountain Research Station Publications

RMRS Online Publication - Journal Articles, External Publications, and Special Reports
Traditional wisdom and climate change: Contribution of wilderness stories to adaptation and survival


Watson, Alan; Stumpff, Linda Moon; Meidinger, Jennifer. 2012. Traditional wisdom and climate change: Contribution of wilderness stories to adaptation and survival. International Journal of Wilderness. 18(2): 21-25.

Our Wilderness Act in the United States, passed in 1964, provides a fairly distinct definition of wilderness for the part of society that was successful in parlaying their values, recreation motivations, and political influence into an extremely effective, world-recognized conservation program. But relationships with our National Wilderness Preservation System extend well beyond the typical recreation visitor we might encounter in these areas. For example, due to growing recognition of the downstream importance of protected headwaters of important rivers, and the need for climate change adaptive planning to protect the flow of benefits to humans from protected nature, wilderness science takes on new meaning to our society. In other words, not all relational aspects between wild places and some segments of U.S. society (particularly indigenous peoples) are described well in the 1964 Wilderness Act. To some degree, Alaskan wilderness areas do take into account rural peoples' rights and way of life under ANILCA, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980. However, recent research efforts toward understanding past and future relationships between humans and wilderness (e.g., Watson 2011) have included efforts to articulate perspectives of American Indians (Watson et al. 2011) and Alaska Native (Whiting 2004) people on their evolving relationships with large, relatively intact wild landscapes. This knowledge sheds light on an ancient cultural orientation toward North American wilderness, one different from that described in the 1964 Wilderness Act.

Keywords: wilderness, climate change


About PDFs: For best results, do not open the PDF in your Web browser. Right-click on the PDF link to download the PDF file directly to your computer. Click here for more PDF help.


Download Article
http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_other/rmrs_2012_watson_a001.pdf

PDF File Size: 120 K


Title: RMRS Other Publications: Traditional wisdom and climate change: Contribution of wilderness stories to adaptation and survival
Electronic Publish Date: September 20, 2012
Last Update:
September 20, 2012

RMRS Publications | Order a publication | Contact Us