WILDERNESS INTERNATIONALLY – There are many protected areas in Europe
In general it can be stated that virtually no one abides by this definition. In addition Wilderness as a word does not even exist in most European languages. For example the French or Spanish language does not have an exact translation. In other languages like German the word is ambigously used for a multitude of expressions. This complicates the needs assessment considerably. In general though, it can be said that wilderness in an educational sense if often used as a place holder for adventurours outdoor activities and survival training courses. The nature conservational aspect is just gradually entering the debate and the course material due to the efforts of NGOs like the partners of this project, but also due to the commitment of German and Austrian Government to dedicate 2% of their landmass to wilderness in accordance to the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System.
Globally, wilderness is a natural environment that has not been significantly modified by human activity. It may also be defined as the most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet, the last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed with modern infrastructure.The principle global wilderness criteria are: Size, intactness, human population density and biodiversity.
Wilderness in Europe
Wilderness in Europe is rarely established by law or administrative acts and is usually hidden as fragments in some existing protected areas scattered throughout the continent. Typical for Europe is wilderness that is in various stages of wilderness continuum. The main features of these areas are that they have not been modified and human activity is restricted.
Increasingly wilderness is considered important for biodiversity, ecological equilibrium, conservation as well as solitude, inspiration, and recreation. In some European countries wilderness is deeply valued for cultural, spiritual, moral, and aesthetic reasons. Some people believe that wilderness is vital for human spirituality and creativity.