‘Wild land’: a concept in search of space

Powell, John R and Slee, Bill and Sarlov-Herlin, I (2004) ‘Wild land’: a concept in search of space. Project Report. Cairngorms National Park Authority, Grantown on Spey, UK.

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Abstract

This paper sets out the general background context surrounding the issue of wild land in Scotland. It explores definitions of wild land and related concepts, identifies key issues associated with wild land in Scotland, and explores the question of the desirability of designating areas as wild land for Scotland. There is increasing interest in the concept of ‘wild land’, ‘wildness’, or ‘wilderness’ in Scotland, other parts of the UK and Europe. Changes in agricultural policy are leading to land abandonment in several European Union member states and in some cases ‘re-wilding’ is taking place with little or no managerial input from humans. These events have led to renewed interest across Europe in setting aside land with minimal management to create ‘wild’ areas. There has been either interest or activity, not always in the public sector, in Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and the Netherlands in exploring and establishing some form of wild land area. Many of these are relatively small, with evidence of recent human activity, and, as such, are quite distinct from the concept of ‘wilderness’, which has been so influential in certain parts of the world (such as North America) in influencing the designation of areas of land for minimal management. In contrast there are the large areas of northern Scandinavia, which still contain ‘wilderness-like’ qualities, and to some extent are preserved in the wilderness areas and national parks of Finland, Sweden and Norway. Unfortunately, the terms ‘wild land’, ‘wildness’, ‘wilderness’, come with an enormous amount of associated cultural baggage, resulting in argument and conflict over definitions, purpose, and management of potential wild land or wilderness areas. The aim of this paper is to unpack some of that baggage and clarify the key issues in the current discussions on wild land taking place in Scotland.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Additional Information: A briefing document published on completion of a research project commissioned by the Cairngorms National Park Authority.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Wild Land; Scotland; Wilderness; re-wilding; Concepts;
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Research Priority Areas: Environmental Dynamics & Governance
Depositing User: Chris Rayfield
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2014 14:02
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2014 14:02
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/886

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