The sense of total human absence is not how wilderness advocates define a wild place. Rather, the concept of a wilderness is related to the degree of human influence. Because humans have lived in all landscapes except Antarctica does not mean that human influence is uniformly distributed. Wilderness should be viewed as those places largely influenced by natural forces, rather than dominated by human manipulation and presence. Downtown Los Angeles is without a doubt a human-influenced landscape, but a place like Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is certainly not significantly manipulated or controlled by humans. Though, certainly, low numbers of humans have hunted, camped and otherwise occupied small portions of the refuge for centuries, the degree of human presence and modification is small. The Arctic Refuge lands are, most wilderness advocates would argue, self-willed.
By such a definition, there are many parts of the world that are to one degree or another largely self-willed.
Wuerthner G (2018)
Anthropocene boosters and the attack on wilderness conservation.
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