National Wilderness Inventory

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

5. Using the Wilderness Database (continued)

5.2 Assessing the Potential for Wilderness Restoration

An appreciation of why a particular location is of a certain wilderness quality can be important in evaluating wilderness potential or in determining an appropriate set of wilderness management actions. For instance, there is considerable variation in the degree the many structures, land conditions, and other features which govern wilderness quality can be changed.

Cleared agricultural land or a major highway are examples of relatively permanent and irreversible features of the landscape by virtue of the magnitude of the impacts they cause. Other features may be considered unchangeable, where the costs of rehabilitation exceeds the benefits that could result from wilderness enhancement.

Conversely, there are cultural features, land use activities and other factors that influence wilderness quality which are more readily rehabilitated. For some features the benefits of removal, in terms of wilderness enhancement, may exceed the benefits of retention. By using wilderness assessment techniques to show the influence which each factor has on wilderness quality, an understanding can be developed of where potential loss or gain to wilderness is most likely to occur, and where action may be taken to manage wilderness to best effect.