Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute

Missoula, MT, United States

Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute

Missoula, MT, United States

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Armatas C.A.,University of Montana | Venn T.J.,University of Montana | Venn T.J.,University of The Sunshine Coast | McBride B.B.,University of Montana | And 2 more authors.
Ecology and Society | Year: 2016

The field of adaptive management has been embraced by researchers and managers in the United States as an approach to improve natural resource stewardship in the face of uncertainty and complex environmental problems. Integratingmultiple knowledge sources and feedback mechanisms is an important step in this approach. Our objective is to contribute to the limited literature that describes the benefits of better integrating indigenous knowledge (IK) with other sources of knowledge inmaking adaptive-management decisions. Specifically, we advocate the integration of traditional phenological knowledge (TPK), a subset of IK, and highlight opportunities for this knowledge to support policy and practice of adaptive management with reference to policy and practice of adapting to uncharacteristic fire regimes and climate change in the western United States. © 2016 by the author(s).


Watson A.,Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute | Matt R.,The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation | Knotek K.,Powell Ranger District | Williams D.R.,Rocky Research | Yung L.,University of Montana
Ecology and Society | Year: 2011

Interviews of tribal and nontribal residents of the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana, U.S., were conducted to contrast the meanings that different cultures attach to the Mission Mountains Tribal Wilderness. Legislation that created a national system of wilderness areas (in 1964 and still growing) was conceived, supported, and enacted by a fairly distinct social group generally residing in urban areas and schooled in modern civilization's scientific model and relationship with nature. The places this legislation protects, however, provide many other poorly recognized and little understood meanings to other parts of society. There is a link between indigenous people and nature that is not described well in this legislation or management policy in most places. The Wilderness Act suggests that these protected areas should be untrammeled, or unmanipulated, unfettered, when in fact it is common knowledge that, for most areas in North America, indigenous people have intervened, with respect, for generations. The Mission Mountains Tribal Wilderness in Montana, though not part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, was designated to protect many of these same values but also extend to protect important cultural meanings assigned to this wild landscape. Protecting the relationship between indigenous people and relatively intact, complex systems, which we commonly refer to as wilderness in North America, can be an important contributor to sustainability of the landscape and cultural heritage. © 2011 by the author(s).


Miller C.,Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute | Aplet G.H.,The Wilderness Society
Journal of Forestry | Year: 2016

Wilderness has played an invaluable role in the development of wildland fire science. Since Agee’s review of the subject 15 years ago, tremendous progress has been made in the development of models and data, in understanding the complexity of wildland fire as a landscape process, and in appreciating the social factors that influence the use of wilderness fire. Regardless of all we have learned, though, the reality is that fire remains an extraordinarily complex process with variable effects that create essential heterogeneity in ecosystems. Whereas some may view this variability as a management impediment, for others it provides a path forward. As research has shown, embracing fire in all its complexity and expanding its use can help reduce fuels, restore resilient landscapes, and contain costs. Wilderness fire science will continue to play an important role in understanding opportunities for using fire, its role in ecosystems, its risks and benefits, and the influence of risk perception on decisionmaking. © 2016, Society of American Foresters. All rights reserved.


Cole D.N.,Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute | Hall T.E.,University of Idaho
Environment and Behavior | Year: 2010

Wilderness should provide opportunities for stress reduction and restoration of mental fatigue. Visitors, surveyed as they exited wilderness trailheads, were asked for self-assessments of stress reduction and mental rejuvenation and the extent to which they experienced various restorative components of the environment-attributes deemed by attention restorative theory to be conducive to restoration. Day and overnight hikers on both very high use and moderate use trails were studied. Most respondents reported substantial stress reduction and mental rejuvenation and most experienced the environment in ways considered conducive to restoration. At the moderate to high use levels we studied, psychological restoration did not vary significantly with level of congestion, suggesting that concern about restorative experiences is not a valid rationale for limiting use on wilderness trails. Day trips reduced stress and allowed for mental rejuvenation to the same degree that overnight trips did. However, several of the restorative components of environment were experienced to a significantly greater degree as length of trip increased. © 2010 SAGE Publications.


Aycrigg J.L.,University of Idaho | Tricker J.,Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute | Duarte L.,Boise State University
Journal of Forestry | Year: 2016

The US National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) is the world’s largest wilderness protection network, yet within the contiguous United States (CONUS) it does not encompass the diversity nor is it fully representative of ecological systems on federal lands. To potentially increase NWPS diversity and representation, we simulated adding potentially eligible lands within CONUS, in the following sequence, to assess changes in ecological systems: National Park Lands not currently designated wilderness; non-NWPS lands currently managed to not degrade wilderness character; USDA Forest Service Inventoried Roadless Areas; and Bureau of Land Management roadless lands. Inclusion of these categories would increase the NWPS area from 12.8 to 48.3% of federal lands, increase diversity by adding 46 ecological systems, and nearly triple the number of ecological systems on federal lands with > 20% representation. Our analysis identifies opportunities to increase diversity and representation of ecological systems within the NWPS. © 2016, Society of American Foresters. All rights reserved.


Dawson C.P.,SUNY ESF | Cordell K.,Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute | Watson A.E.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Ghimire R.,University of Georgia | Green G.T.,University of Georgia
Journal of Forestry | Year: 2016

The Wilderness Manager Survey (WMS) was developed in 2014 to support interagency strategic planning for the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and asked managers about their perceived threats to the NWPS, the need for science information to support decisionmaking, the need for education and training, and the most important problems for managers in the future. The WMS was administered during Feb. 24 to May 19, 2014, to wilderness managers in the four federal agencies who manage the lands of the NWPS, and 368 wilderness managers responded. The important external and internal threats as perceived by managers for the NWPS for the next 20 years were the following: the lack of political and financial support for wilderness protection and management, invasive exotic plant or animal species, disconnected urban audiences unaware of wilderness, adjacent land management and incompatible uses, and legislation designating wilderness that included compromised natural conditions or incompatible special provisions for management. © 2016, Society of American Foresters. All rights reserved.


Carver S.,University of Leeds | Tricker J.,Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute | Landres P.,Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute
Journal of Environmental Management | Year: 2013

A GIS-based approach is developed to identify the state of wilderness character in US wilderness areas using Death Valley National Park (DEVA) as a case study. A set of indicators and measures are identified by DEVA staff and used as the basis for developing a flexible and broadly applicable framework to map wilderness character using data inputs selected by park staff. Spatial data and GIS methods are used to map the condition of four qualities of wilderness character: natural, untrammelled, undeveloped, and solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation. These four qualities are derived from the US 1964 Wilderness Act and later developed by Landres etal. (2008a) in "Keeping it Wild: An Interagency Strategy to Monitor Trends in Wilderness Character Across the National Wilderness Preservation System." Data inputs are weighted to reflect their importance in relation to other data inputs and the model is used to generate maps of each of the four qualities of wilderness character. The combined map delineates the range of quality of wilderness character in the DEVA wilderness revealing the majority of wilderness character to be optimal quality with the best areas in the northern section of the park. This map will serve as a baseline for monitoring change in wilderness character and for evaluating the spatial impacts of planning alternatives for wilderness and backcountry stewardship plans. The approach developed could be applied to any wilderness area, either in the USA or elsewhere in the world. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Monz C.A.,Utah State University | Cole D.N.,Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute | Leung Y.-F.,North Carolina State University | Marion J.L.,U.S. Geological Survey
Environmental Management | Year: 2010

Recreation ecology, the study of environmental consequences of outdoor recreation activities and their effective management, is a relatively new field of scientific study having emerged over the last 50 years. During this time, numerous studies have improved our understanding of how use-related, environmental and managerial factors affect ecological conditions and processes. Most studies have focused on vegetation and soil responses to recreation-related trampling on trails and recreation sites using indicators such as percent vegetation cover and exposed mineral soil. This applied approach has and will continue to yield important information for land managers. However, for the field to advance, more attention needs to be given to other ecosystem attributes and to the larger aspects of environmental conservation occurring at landscape scales. This article is an effort at initiating a dialog on needed advances in the field. We begin by reviewing broadly generalizable knowledge of recreation ecology, to separate what is known from research gaps. Then, based on the authors' perspective of research in the USA and North America, several research directions are suggested as essential for continued progress in this field including theoretical development, broadening scale, integration with other disciplines, and examination of synergistic effects. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


Schwartz M.K.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Hahn B.A.,Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute | Hossack B.R.,Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute
Journal of Forestry | Year: 2016

We explore the connection between US designated wilderness areas and wildlife with the goal of establishing a research agenda for better understanding this complex relationship. Our research agenda has two components. The first, “wildlife for wilderness,” considers the impact of wildlife on wilderness character. Whereas studies show that wildlife is important in both the perception and actual enhancement of wilderness character, the context and particulars of this relationship have not been evaluated. For instance, is knowing that a rare, native species is present in a wilderness area enough to increase perceptions of naturalness (an important wilderness quality)? Or does the public need to observe the species or its sign (e.g., tracks) for this benefit? The second part of our research agenda, “wilderness for wildlife,” considers the types of research needed to understand the impact of wilderness areas on wildlife and biodiversity conservation. Several studies show the effect of one area being designated wilderness on one wildlife species. Yet, there has been no research that examines how the networks of wilderness areas in the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) are used by a species or a community of species. Furthermore, we found no studies that focused on how the NWPS affects ecological or trophic interactions among species. We hope that by providing a research agenda, we can spur multiple lines of research on the topic of wildlife and wilderness. © 2016, Society of American Foresters. All rights reserved.


Hall T.E.,University of Idaho | Seekamp E.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Cole D.,Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute
Leisure Sciences | Year: 2010

Surveys show relatively little support for use restrictions to protect wilderness experiences. However, such conclusions based on aggregate data could hide important differences among visitors. Visitors with more wilderness-dependent trip motives were hypothesized to be more supportive of use restrictions. Using survey data from visitors to 13 wildernesses, cluster analysis of motivations and wilderness involvement generated three clusters that differed in sensitivity to social conditions and support for use restrictions. The group with motives most aligned with the Wilderness Act was slightly more adversely affected by social conditions and more supportive of regulations. However, none of the groups supported use restrictions to protect opportunities for solitude. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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