In recognizing that the very nature of wilderness is a human construct, the values sought to be preserved can and should be reevaluated, considering the importance of wilderness in light of climate change and global ecosystem resilience, as well as how wilderness is designated and managed. Furthermore, the values that wilderness provides us will dramatically increase as climate change proceeds. Section II of this article describes the basics of wilderness protection, including the evolution of our relationship with wilderness, the history of the Wilderness Act, and what, how, and why wilderness is protected under the Act. Section III explores how wilderness will be impacted by climate change and the debate over how to manage wilderness given these impacts. Section IV argues for passive management of wilderness areas, as it is consistent with the text and purpose of the Act and it best preserves ecological stability. Section V argues for a subtle, yet essential, loosening of the definition of wilderness and the urgent need for increased wilderness preservation to strengthen the resiliency of our global ecosystems.
Recommended CitationKatherine Fiedler, Reevaluating Wilderness Classification and Management in the Face of Climate Change: A Reconsideration of Values and Ecology, 33 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 300 (2016)
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/pelr/vol33/iss2/5