Wilderness Protection in Iceland - An International Perspective

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentationScientific

    Description

    Wilderness areas are often characterized by a relatively large size, a high degree of naturalness and the absence of proof of modern human society (e.g., roads, buildings, bridges, motorized transportation)(IUCN 2008). In the past, such areas were considered wastelands, whose value lay only in their potential for cultivation and economic exploitation. Today, these wilderness areas are increasingly cherished as places for rest and recreation and as important areas for scientific research, biodiversity conservation and the mitigation of and adaptation to certain climate change effects. While wilderness areas are worldwide under pressure, Europe still retains some large wild places. Iceland takes a special position in this respect, not only because of the still remaining wilderness but also because of the explicit attention for wilderness protection in law and policy. This workshop provided the opportunity to informally exchange views on questions such as:
    * Where may wilderness be found in Iceland? (‘mapping wilderness’)
    * What values may be attributed to these wild places in Iceland?
    * Is wilderness in Iceland under threat, and if so, are these threats being sufficiently
    addressed by law, policy and/or management?
    * What may we learn from other places in Europe? To what extent do the last
    relatively untouched natural areas receive legal protection under international
    conventions, European Union law and domestic law of other countries in Europe?

    The workshop started with an introduction by Þorvarður Árnason concerning a new
    method for wilderness mapping in Iceland that the Hornafjordur Research Center has
    developed. After the introduction, Kees Bastmeijer presented examples of his work
    with wilderness issues in Europe and internationally.
    Period13 Dec 2017
    Held atUniversity of Iceland, Hornafjordur Research Center, Höfn, Iceland

    Keywords

    • wilderness
    • wilderness protection
    • Iceland
    • international law
    • European law
    • nature conservation
    • rewilding
    • ecological restoration