You are here: Home / Research Topics / Research Highlights / Individual Highlight

Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Study Shows the Overall Condition of Wilderness Character

Photo of A wilderness character map of Death Valley National Park shows the range in quality of wilderness character. National Park ServiceA wilderness character map of Death Valley National Park shows the range in quality of wilderness character. National Park ServiceSnapshot : A new interagency strategy to monitor wilderness character helps managers assess whether wilderness stewardship actions fulfill the mandate to “preserve wilderness character.”

Principal Investigators(s) :
Landres, Peter B.  
Research Location : Death Valley, Olympic, Denali, Saguaro, Sequoia Kings, and Canyon National Parks
Research Station : Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS)
Year : 2013
Highlight ID : 551

Summary

A new interagency strategy to monitor wilderness character helps on-the-ground managers and decision makers assess whether stewardship actions for an individual wilderness fulfill the mandate to preserve wilderness character. Since nearly all wilderness monitoring data depict spatial features, an on-going Forest Service study investigates whether combining these data in map form can provide a spatially explicit understanding of the changes and trends in wilderness character over time. All decisions to build a map of wilderness character utilize the knowledge and experience of park staff. Measures identify where wilderness character is degraded from its baseline condition. Using GIS techniques, researchers processed spatial data from these measures into grids. Each measure, weighted by park staff, reflects its importance in relation to the other measures within an indicator. Maps, generated for each of the four qualities of wilderness character - natural, untrammeled, undeveloped and solitude, or primitive and unconfined, produced an overall map of wilderness character. This study shows the overall condition of wilderness character and how it varies across the landscape, analyzes the effects of different planning alternatives considered in stewardship plans on wilderness character, and provides a baseline from which future monitoring will show the trend in wilderness character over time.

Additional Resources

Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute(external web site)

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • National Park Service

Strategic
Program Areas

Priority
Areas