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Articles on Wilderness

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In September, 2019 a 50-year-old hiker was rescued by helicopter from Tasmania’s popular Overland Track after suffering heart problems. AAP Image/Tasmania Police

If you’re planning to hike this winter, invest in the right gear. Being unprepared for Australia’s harsh terrain can be deadly

In 2019, 44 bushwalkers had to be rescued in Tasmania. New research identified who tends to take the most risks, and how to be better prepared for your next hike.
John James Audubon relied on African Americans and Native Americans to collect some specimens for his ‘Birds of America’ prints (shown: Florida cormorant), but never credited them. National Audubon Society

American environmentalism’s racist roots have shaped global thinking about conservation

US ideas about conservation center on walling off land from use. That approach often means expelling Indigenous and other poor people who may be its most effective caretakers.
The world’s remaining wilderness. Dark blue = terrestrial. Light blue = marine. Modified with permission from Protect the last of the wild, Watson et al, Nature (2018)

Five maps that reveal the world’s remaining wilderness

Zooming in on deforestation and other wild habitat loss can help us work out how best to protect wilderness.
Brazil, home to the Amazon, is one of just five ‘mega-wilderness’ countries. CIFOR

Earth’s wilderness is vanishing, and just a handful of nations can save it

More than two-thirds of Earth’s remaining wilderness is in the hands of just five countries, according to a new global map. A concerted conservation effort is needed to save our last wild places.
Predatory fish are among the most vulnerable species to human pressures. Rich Carey/Shutterstock

New map shows that only 13% of the oceans are still truly wild

The world has some 500 million square kilometres of ocean. But just 55 million square kilometres remain untouched by intensive human activities such as fishing.
Pause and reflect on what really makes wilderness valuable. John O'Neill/Wikimedia Commons

The moral value of wilderness

Imagine being one of the last few people alive. Would that make it ok to destroy the natural world? This thought experiment reveals the true value of nature, beyond the benefits to humans.
Australia’s Purnululu National Park is a World Heritage wilderness, but many other pristine places lack similar protection. AAP Image/Tourism Australia

Earth’s wildernesses are disappearing, and not enough of them are World Heritage-listed

Wilderness areas are vitally important, yet are largely overlooked by the United Nations’ list of natural World Heritage. This week’s meeting in Poland is a chance to redress that balance.
The Simien mountains in Ethiopia are one of the world’s most threatened natural heritage sites. Simien mountains image from www.shutterstock.com

More than half the world’s most important natural sites are under threat: it’s time to protect them

You’d hope we wouldn’t flatten the pyramids to build a highway. But that’s exactly what’s happening to the world’s natural heritage sites.
Fires in 1997 in Indonesia released over a billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. Indonesia’s forests burned again in 2015. AAP

The world’s carbon stores are going up in smoke with vanishing wilderness

The world has lost 10% of its wilderness areas in the past 20 years and, with it, vast stores of carbon.

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