National Wilderness Inventory

Australia: Our national stories
Australian Heritage Commission, 2003
ISBN 0 642 23561 9

1. Introduction (continued)

1.2 The NWI Approach to Wilderness

Considerations of wilderness in the NWI are based on the concept of wilderness as part of a continuum of remote and natural conditions that vary in degree from pristine to urban (Lesslie and Taylor 1985) (Figure 1.1).

More than this, NWI assessments are not matched to any particular biocentric or anthropocentric view of wilderness. Emphasis is instead placed on identifying and assessing the common environmental attributes upon which a multiplicity of wilderness-related benefits are based. The procedure can more properly be described as a remote and natural lands assessment. No statement is made as to what should, or should not, be considered a 'wilderness'.

It can therefore be seen that the program is not designed to produce a catalogue of wilderness areas, although it can be used for this purpose. Rather, it is designed to measure variation in wilderness quality in the landscape using consistent and objectively measurable criteria.

The database that is produced may then be used in an entirely flexible way to assist in determining which areas meet specified criteria for wilderness as well as for many other policy and management purposes.