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Wilderness Mapping for Evaluating Human Impact on the Environment
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Objectively measure the extent to which a location is remote from, and undisturbed by, the impact of settlements and human-related infrastructure.

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Wilderness is assessed in terms of remoteness and naturalness. The concept is based on the fact that it is possible to have a continuum of values across the landscape ranging from urban to pristine. A wilderness quality index can be derived based on the
evaluation and integration of the following four components:
  • remoteness from settlement (settled land or points of permanent occupation);
  • remoteness from access (vehicle-constructed access routes);
  • naturalness (degree to which the landscape is free from the presence of permanent structures of the modern society); and
  • biophysical naturalness (degree to which the landscape is free from biophysical disturbance due to the human influence).
Wilderness quality is calculated by the summation of standardized class values for the measured indicators.

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Maps of South Australia illustrate the applicability of the method for analyzing the integrated wilderness quality and its breakdown by the type of the environment (defined on the basis of such environmental factors as e.g. climate and landscape).

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Contact: Mike Maslen, National Wilderness Inventory, Australian Heritage Commission, GPO Box 1567, CANBERRA
ACT 2601, AUSTRALIA Phone: +61 6 271 2111 Fax: +61 6 271 2000
E-mail: mikem@ahc.ahc.gov.au | http://www.environment.gov.au/portfolio/ahc/nwi.html
Rob Lesslie, Department of Geography, Australian National University, ACT 0200, Australia
Phone: +61 6 249 3251 Fax: + 61 6 249 3770
E-mail: rob@dart.anu.edu.au | http://valerie.anu.edu.au/docs/index.html