Naturalness and wildness: the dilemma and irony of managing wilderness
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): P. B. Landres; M. W. Brunson; L. Merigliano; C. Sydoriak; S. Morton
Compiler(s): D. N. Cole; S. F. McCool; W. T. Borrie; J. O'Loughlin
Publication Year: 2000

Cataloging Information

  • New Mexico
  • wilderness areas
  • wilderness fire management
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: August 6, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 47868
Tall Timbers Record Number: 23876
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: A13.151/5:RMRS-P-15 v.5
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


This paper summarizes a dialogue session that focused on two concepts that strongly influence nearly all wilderness management: wildness and naturalness. The origin and value of these concepts are discussed, as well as the dilemma and irony that arises when wilderness managers contemplate manipulating the environment to restore naturalness at the risk of reducing wildness. To illustrate this irony, a case study of a proposed large-scale manipulation to stop the loss of cultural resources in the Bandelier Wilderness is discussed. It is concluded that large scale wilderness restoration based on manipulating the environment will always cause a dilemma and entail the irony of balacing wildness against naturalness. One of the biggest hurdles facing wilderness policy-makers and managers today, as well as the concerned public, is how to reconcile these views and manage wilderness for both wildness and naturalness.

Landres, P. B., M. W. Brunson, L. Merigliano, C. Sydoriak, and S. Morton. 2000. Naturalness and wildness: the dilemma and irony of managing wilderness, in Cole, D. N., McCool, S. F., Borrie, W. T., and O'Loughlin, J., Wilderness science in a time of change conference -- volume 5: wilderness ecosystems, threats, and management. Missoula, MN. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station,Ogden, UT. 5, p. 377-381,Proceedings RMRS-P-15-Vol-5.