Wilderness protection in Europe: The role of international, European and national law

Kees Bastmeijer (Editor)

    Research output: Book/ReportBookScientific


    In recent years strong concerns have been raised about the protection of the remaining areas of wilderness in Europe. Despite an extensive human footprint, Europe still retains large areas with a high degree of native and free functioning ecosystems, where roads, buildings, bridges, cables and other permanent manifestations of modern society are absent. In the past, such ‘wilderness areas’ were considered ‘wastelands’ whose value lay only in their potential for cultivation and economic exploitation. Today, wilderness areas are increasingly cherished as places for rest and recreation, homelands for indigenous people, and as important areas for scientific research, biodiversity conservation and the mitigation of and adaptation to certain climate change effects. Despite this growing appreciation of wilderness values, however, numerous threats to Europe’s wilderness remain, such as fragmentation and the tensions inherent between economic development and ecological conservation. Against this background, this book provides the first major appraisal of the role of international, European and domestic law in protecting wilderness areas and their distinguishing qualities in Europe.
    Part I of the book provides an international history of wilderness protection and introduces the remaining wilderness areas in Europe and their ecological, social and economical values. Part II examines the extent to which wilderness in Europe is protected through international and regional conventions and EU nature conservation law. Part III analyses wilderness protection under the domestic legal systems of selected European countries, many of which have developed unique approaches to the conservation, management and re-establishment of wilderness within their territory. Part IV examines the lessons learned from these international, regional and national approaches, identifies the obstacle to wilderness protection in Europe and considers whether and how the legal protection of wilderness can be further advanced.
    This book will be of particular interest to environmental lawyers, students of environmental law, as well as specialists in ecology, geography, environmental policy and the management of protected areas in Europe.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationCambridge
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Number of pages550
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • wilderness
    • Natura 2000
    • biodiversity protection
    • world heritage convention
    • Alpine Convention
    • Carpathian Convention
    • ecosystem services
    • mapping wilderness
    • Bern Convention
    • property rights
    • Europe
    • Arctic
    • wilderness protection
    • wilderness conservation
    • wilderness preservation
    • ecosystem
    • ecological values
    • wild lands
    • wildness
    • undisturbed
    • undeveloped
    • civilisation
    • cultivating nature
    • human nature relationships


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