Synopsis: Wilderness or wildlands (usually in the plural), are on that have not been significantly modified by activity or any nonurbanized land not under extensive agricultural cultivation.The term has traditionally referred to terrestrial environments, though growing attention is being placed on marine wilderness. Recent maps of wilderness suggest it covers roughly one quarter of Earth’s terrestrial surface, but is being rapidly degraded by human activity.Even less wilderness remains in the ocean, with only 13.2% free from intense human activity.
The idea of protecting nature for nature’s sake began to gain more recognition in the 1930s with American writers like , calling for a “land ethic” and urging wilderness protection. It had become increasingly clear that wild spaces were disappearing rapidly and that decisive action was needed to save them. Wilderness preservation is central to ; a philosophy that believes in an inherent worth of all living beings, regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs.
Two different groups had emerged within the US environmental movement by the early 20th century: the conservationists and the preservationists. The initial consensus among conservationists was split into “utilitarian conservationists” later to be referred to as conservationists, and “aesthetic conservationists” or preservationists. The main representative for the former was , first Chief of the United States Forest Service, and they focused on the proper use of nature, whereas the preservationists sought the protection of nature from use.Put another way, conservation sought to regulate human use while preservation sought to eliminate human impact altogether. The management of US public lands during the years 1960s and 70s reflected these dual visions, with conservationists dominating the Forest Service, and preservationists the Park Service