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Monitoring Changes in Wilderness Character Why, What, and How 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Monitoring Changes in Wilderness Character Why, What, and How 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Monitoring Changes in Wilderness Character Why, What, and How 1

2 Monitoring Changes in Wilderness Character Peter Landres Ecologist, USDA Forest Service Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute Chris Barns Wilderness Specialist, BLM National Landscape Conservation System Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center 2

3 The Interagency Wilderness Policy Council has said that the 4 wilderness managing agencies will have baseline monitoring for EVERY wilderness completed by Review legal and policy mandates Outline practical stewardship rationale Define “wilderness character” Describe monitoring indicators Monitoring Changes in Wilderness Character

4 Interagency Wilderness Character Monitoring Team Monitoring Changes in Wilderness Character 4 2 from BLM 2 from FWS 2 from FS 2 from NPS 1 from USGS

5 “…provide for…the preservation of their wilderness character…” The Wilderness Act, Sec 2(a) “…each agency administering any…wilderness shall be responsible for preserving the wilderness character…” The Wilderness Act, Sec 4(b) “…administer…to preserve its wilderness character…” The Wilderness Act, Sec 4(b) 5 Wilderness Character in Law

6 BLM:43 CFR Background and.06 FWS:610 FW 1-5 FS: FSM and.14 NPS: NPS 6.1 and.3 Wilderness Character in Agency Policy 6

7 Fulfill purpose of the Wilderness Act & improve accountability Understand consequences of decisions and actions Integrate stewardship across all staff areas Provide enduring legacy information Guard against legal vulnerability Wilderness Character Why Monitor? 7

8 “…an improper evaluation of the wilderness character of the area….” Barnes v. Babbitt (D. Ariz.) (2004) “‘Natural conditions’…are part of the ‘wilderness character’ to be preserved.” Wilderness Soc. v. USFWS (9 th Cir. En banc) (2003) “…that action degrades the wilderness character….” Izaak Walton League v. Kimbell (D. Minn.) (2007) “[The decision] is in direct contradiction of the mandate to preserve the wilderness character.” OLYM Park Assoc. v. Mainella (West. D. WA) (2005) Wilderness Character in Court 8

9 Wilderness “X” at time of designation Modern Human Influence more less Wilderness Character improved degraded Wilderness Character in Stewardship stable 9

10 Wilderness “X” at time of designation Modern Human Influence more less Wilderness Character improved degraded Wilderness Character in Stewardship stable 10

11 Wilderness “X” at time of designation Modern Human Influence more less Wilderness Character improved degraded Wilderness Character in Stewardship stable 11

12 Wilderness “X” at time of designation Modern Human Influence more less Wilderness Character improved degraded Wilderness Character in Stewardship stable 12

13 “The purpose of the Wilderness Act is to preserve the wilderness character of the areas to be included in the wilderness system, not to establish any particular use.” Howard Zahniser Wilderness Character in Stewardship 13

14 Wilderness “characteristics” ARE NOT THE SAME AS Wilderness Character Wilderness Character is more than the sum of its parts Wilderness Character What Is It? 14 “an enduring resource of wilderness” NOT “resources”

15 Wilderness Character What Is It? Wilderness Act of 1964 “wilderness character” Section 2(c) Definition of Wilderness Qualities of Wilderness Character 15

16 “…affected primarily by the forces of nature…” Untrammeled Wilderness Character: Qualities “…an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man…” 16 Unmanipulated Free Uncontrolled Wild

17 Wilderness Character: Qualities Untrammeled 17

18 Untrammeled Degraded by actions that manipulate, control, or hinder “the community of life” Wilderness Character: Qualities Spraying weeds Killing predators Collaring Suppressing / lighting fires 18

19 Wilderness Character: Qualities Untrammeled Wilderness is essentially unhindered and free from modern human control or manipulation 19

20 “...protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions….” Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled 20 Untrammeled: decisions or actions Natural: effects

21 “...protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions….” Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled 21 Untrammeled: management decision Natural: condition of the land

22 Natural Untrammeled “...protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions….” Wilderness Character: Qualities Vegetation Wildlife Air, Water, Soil Ecological Processes 22

23 Natural Untrammeled Degraded by effects (intended or unintended) of modern civilization Wilderness Character: Qualities Non-native species Extirpation Pollution Interference with ecological processes 23

24 Wilderness ecological systems are substantially free from the effects of modern civilization Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled 24

25 Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled Undeveloped “…undeveloped…land retaining…primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements…” “...where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” 25

26 “We stand without our mechanisms that make us immediate masters over our environment.” Howard Zahniser Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled Undeveloped 26 “In order to assure that…growing mechanization does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States…” TheWilderness Act, § 2(a)

27 Degraded by structures and tools that facilitate our ability to occupy or modify the environment Wilderness Character: Qualities Structures Installations Aircraft Motors Mechanical transport Natural Untrammeled Undeveloped 27

28 Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled Undeveloped Wilderness retains its primeval character and influence, and is essentially without permanent improvement or modern human occupation 28

29 Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled Undeveloped Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation “…outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation…” 29

30 Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled Undeveloped Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Traditional / Primitive Skills Challenge & Self- discovery Connection & Freedom 30

31 Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled Undeveloped Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Encounters Facilities Restrictions Degraded by settings that reduce these opportunities 31

32 Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled Undeveloped Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Wilderness provides outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation 32

33 Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled Undeveloped Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Unique “may also contain ecological, geological, … scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.” 33

34 Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled Undeveloped Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Unique May also be part of Natural quality Cultural Paleontological 34

35 Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled Undeveloped Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Unique May also be part of Natural quality Cultural Paleontological 35

36 Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled Undeveloped Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Unique Loss of scientific knowledge Loss of existence / bequest / spiritual Degraded by 36

37 Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled Undeveloped Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Unique Wilderness may have unique qualities which must be protected consistent with a wilderness context 37

38 Wilderness Character: Qualities Natural Untrammeled Undeveloped Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Unique 38

39 Five distinct and equally important qualities that are inter-related Each wilderness may have unique aspects of all five qualities Wilderness character is affected by stewardship decisions to take action or not to take action There are additional implications: Wilderness Character: Qualities 39

40 Example: eradicating non- native invasive species Control of exotic plants may improve the Natural quality Control of exotic plants degrades the Untrammeled quality Wilderness Character: Qualities Implications for Management A single action may improve one Quality while degrading another 40

41 Wilderness Character: Qualities Implications for Management 41 Change Relative to 2010 Baseline Untrammeled Natural Spraying herbicides to eradicate nonnative plants ? ?? ?

42 Example: artificial water sources for desert wildlife Decision to manipulate degrades the Untrammeled quality Altered water use patterns may degrade the Natural quality Presence of the structure degrades the Undeveloped quality Bighorn survival may improve the Natural quality Wilderness Character: Qualities Implications for Management A single decision or action may degrade more than one Quality 42

43 Primary purpose is to improve on-the-ground wilderness stewardship Applies to every wilderness Provides a national assessment of trends Uses 13 indicators that were selected to be relevant, credible, cost-efficient Uses at least one measure per indicator Uses data that already are (or should be) collected, or are available nationally Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 43

44 Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Untrammeled Wilderness is essentially unhindered and free from modern human control or manipulation 44

45 Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Untrammeled Wilderness is essentially unhindered and free from modern human control or manipulation What are the trends in actions that control or manipulate the “earth and its community of life” inside wilderness? 45

46 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Untrammeled Wilderness is essentially unhindered and free from modern human control or manipulation What are the trends in actions that control or manipulate the “earth and its community of life” inside wilderness? Actions authorized by the Federal land manager that manipulate the biophysical environment Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 46

47 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Untrammeled Wilderness is essentially unhindered and free from modern human control or manipulation What are the trends in actions that control or manipulate the “earth and its community of life” inside wilderness? Actions authorized by the Federal land manager that manipulate the biophysical environment Actions not authorized by the Federal land manager that manipulate the biophysical environment Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 47

48 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Untrammeled Wilderness is essentially unhindered and free from modern human control or manipulation What are the trends in actions that control or manipulate the “earth and its community of life” inside wilderness? Actions authorized by the Federal land manager that manipulate the biophysical environment Actions not authorized by the Federal land manager that manipulate the biophysical environment Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 48 Determined by agency

49 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Natural Wilderness ecological systems are substantially free from the effects of modern civilization Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 49 Determined by agency

50 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Natural Wilderness ecological systems are substantially free from the effects of modern civilization What are the trends in terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric natural resources inside wilderness? Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 50 Determined by agency

51 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Natural Wilderness ecological systems are substantially free from the effects of modern civilization What are the trends in terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric natural resources inside wilderness? What are the trends in terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric natural processes inside wilderness? Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 51 Determined by agency

52 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Natural Wilderness ecological systems are substantially free from the effects of modern civilization What are the trends in terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric natural resources inside wilderness? Plant and animal species and communities What are the trends in terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric natural processes inside wilderness? Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 52 Determined by agency

53 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Natural Wilderness ecological systems are substantially free from the effects of modern civilization What are the trends in terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric natural resources inside wilderness? Plant and animal species and communities Physical resources What are the trends in terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric natural processes inside wilderness? Determined by agency Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 53

54 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Natural Wilderness ecological systems are substantially free from the effects of modern civilization What are the trends in terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric natural resources inside wilderness? Plant and animal species and communities Physical resources What are the trends in terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric natural processes inside wilderness? Biophysical processes Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 54 Determined by agency

55 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Undeveloped Wilderness retains its primeval character and influence, and is essentially without permanent improvement or modern human occupation Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 55 Determined by agency

56 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Undeveloped Wilderness retains its primeval character and influence, and is essentially without permanent improvement or modern human occupation What are the trends in non- recreational development inside wilderness? Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 56 Determined by agency

57 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Undeveloped Wilderness retains its primeval character and influence, and is essentially without permanent improvement or modern human occupation What are the trends in non- recreational development inside wilderness? What are the trends in mechanization inside wilderness? Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 57 Determined by agency

58 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Undeveloped Wilderness retains its primeval character and influence, and is essentially without permanent improvement or modern human occupation What are the trends in non- recreational development inside wilderness? Non-recreational structures, installations, and developments What are the trends in mechanization inside wilderness? Determined by agency Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 58

59 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Undeveloped Wilderness retains its primeval character and influence, and is essentially without permanent improvement or modern human occupation What are the trends in non- recreational development inside wilderness? Non-recreational structures, installations, and developments Inholdings What are the trends in mechanization inside wilderness? Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 59 Determined by agency

60 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Undeveloped Wilderness retains its primeval character and influence, and is essentially without permanent improvement or modern human occupation What are the trends in non- recreational development inside wilderness? Non-recreational structures, installations, and developments Inholdings What are the trends in mechanization inside wilderness? Use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment, or mechanical transport Determined by agency Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 60

61 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Undeveloped Wilderness retains its primeval character and influence, and is essentially without permanent improvement or modern human occupation What are the trends in non- recreational development inside wilderness? Non-recreational structures, installations, and developments Inholdings What are the trends in mechanization inside wilderness? Use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment, or mechanical transport What are the trends in cultural resources inside wilderness? Loss of statutorily protected cultural resources Determined by agency Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 61

62 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Wilderness provides outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 62 Determined by agency

63 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Wilderness provides outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation What are the trends in outstanding opportunities for solitude inside wilderness? Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 63 Determined by agency

64 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Wilderness provides outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation What are the trends in outstanding opportunities for solitude inside wilderness? What are the trends in outstanding opportunities for primitive and unconfined recreation inside wilderness? Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 64 Determined by agency

65 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Wilderness provides outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation What are the trends in outstanding opportunities for solitude inside wilderness? Remoteness from sights and sounds of people inside the wilderness What are the trends in outstanding opportunities for primitive and unconfined recreation inside wilderness? Determined by agency Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 65

66 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Wilderness provides outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation What are the trends in outstanding opportunities for solitude inside wilderness? Remoteness from sights and sounds of people inside the wilderness Remoteness from occupied and modified areas outside the wilderness What are the trends in outstanding opportunities for primitive and unconfined recreation inside wilderness? Determined by agency Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 66 Death Valley night sky Las Vegas Los Angeles

67 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Wilderness provides outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation What are the trends in outstanding opportunities for solitude inside wilderness? Remoteness from sights and sounds of people inside the wilderness Remoteness from occupied and modified areas outside the wilderness What are the trends in outstanding opportunities for primitive and unconfined recreation inside wilderness? Facilities that decrease self-reliant recreation Determined by agency Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 67

68 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Wilderness provides outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation What are the trends in outstanding opportunities for solitude inside wilderness? Remoteness from sights and sounds of people inside the wilderness Remoteness from occupied and modified areas outside the wilderness What are the trends in outstanding opportunities for primitive and unconfined recreation inside wilderness? Facilities that decrease self-reliant recreation Management restrictions on visitor behavior Determined by agency Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 68

69 QualityQuestionIndicatorMeasures Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation Wilderness provides outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation What are the trends in outstanding opportunities for solitude inside wilderness? Remoteness from sights and sounds of people inside the wilderness Remoteness from occupied and modified areas outside the wilderness What are the trends in outstanding opportunities for primitive and unconfined recreation inside wilderness? Facilities that decrease self-reliant recreation Management restrictions on visitor behavior Wilderness Character: Qualities How to Monitor 69 Determined by agency

70 Some measures are counted once every 5- years, some every year Significance of change defined by agency Baseline for evaluating change is the time of wilderness designation (if data exist) or the first time this monitoring is conducted Trend for each indicator is assessed as “improving,” “stable,” or “degrading” Consistent rules used to roll up indicator trends to assess trend for the entire wilderness once every 5 years Wilderness Character: Applying the Strategy 70

71 D OES NOT monitor the full range of conditions and meanings of wilderness character D OES NOT monitor the full range of resources needed to manage a wilderness D OES NOT replace specific site, resource, or project monitoring D OES NOT provide a numerical value or absolute rating of wilderness character D OES NOT compare one wilderness to another Wilderness Character: Applying the Strategy 71

72 Monitoring Trends in Wilderness Character Agency-specific Data Management Agency-specific Technical Guide Wilderness Character: Applying the Strategy 72

73 “We must then do two things: we must see that an adequate system of wilderness areas is designated for preservation; and then we must allow nothing to alter the wilderness character of the preserves.” H. Zahniser, “Wilderness Forever,” 1961 Wilderness Character 73

74 Wilderness Character F OR M ORE I NFORMATION go to Wilderness Character Toolbox on 74

75 Monitoring Changes in Wilderness Character Why, What, and How 75


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