the call of the wild
is in the eye of the beholder, and almost impossible to
define, but a series of events organised by senior geography
lecturer Steve Carver has been trying to pin down what
wilderness means and whether it can be conserved or recreated
in the British countryside.
Looking for wilderness - Dr Steve Carver
in a two-day conference at the University, brought together
academics and land management and conservation professionals
from around the world to look at the issues surrounding
what is known in the field as ‘wild land’.
is so difficult because people tend to confuse that which
is ecologically wild, and that which is remote, dramatic
or extreme," said Dr Carver, who also sits on the
Council for National Parks wilder areas forum.
in Britain is pristine and unaltered by human intervention
and the few areas left which might be seen as wild – notably
parts of the Highlands – only appear so because their
tenant population was evicted in the 19th century to make
way for sporting estates and sheep grazing."
are an important resource within the countryside, both
for ecological reasons and for tourism and recreation,
and policy recommendations drawn up at the conference
sought ways to ensure this was recognised within conservation
Some of these
recommendations are already being followed up by researchers
at Leeds, such as an evaluation of the landscape and habitat
potential of the UK, and a survey of experts and the public
as to their attitudes to ‘wilderness’ or ‘wild land’.
To join in
the survey, see www.ccg.leeds.ac.uk/wild/start2.html
or see www.geog.leeds.ac.uk/conferences/wildbritain/
for more details .