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Data archiving: 50 years of Wilderness science preserved for all time

Date: October 29, 2015

Preserving a legacy


Background

The Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute in Missoula, Montana, coordinates science for the entire National Wilderness Preservation System.
The Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute in Missoula, Montana, coordinates science for the entire National Wilderness Preservation System.
Nearly 50 years of Wilderness science, including raw data sets, survey instruments, coding manuals, study plans, and final reports reside physically and electronically within the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute (ALWRI). Passing time and all its inevitabilities – retirements, relocations, and technological advancement, etc. – threaten the accessibility and future availability of such science.

Research

This project ensures that the Wilderness science completed by a long history of accomplished researchers are available, which is important for a number of reasons including understanding the history of Wilderness research, decreasing the possibility that already completed research will be repeated, providing a foundation for studying trends in Wilderness use, and informing current researchers about the methods and processes employed by researchers of the past.

Key Findings

  • Nearly 50 data sets, complemented by other documentation, are available for public use at www.fs.usda.gov/rds/archive/.
  • The topics of the archived research include campsite assessments of various Wilderness areas, surveys of conflict between Wilderness users, characteristics of Wilderness users, attitudes and values associated with Wilderness, ecosystem services science, and public perceptions of Wilderness management practices.
  • Data sets have been updated to easily accessible electronic formats.


Principal Investigators: 
Forest Service Partners: 
Laurie Porth, Rocky Mountain Research Station
External Partners: 
Christopher A. Armatas, The University of Montana
Carly Campbell, The University of Montana