DEBATE OF '98- wilderness?

Theo Hopkins thopkins at
Sun Apr 19 17:10:06 EST 1998

In article <353A1162.E479AC14 at>, Joseph Zorzin
<redoak at> writes
>How much wilderness do we need? And why

I believe that one fifth of all representative forest types in each
country should be kept as pristine wilderness. 

For some countries, such as the UK, Germany, Poland, The Baltic States,
Finland, Sweeden, the USA, where there is less than one fifth of their
forest wilderness remaining, second-growth forest will have to be
returned to a wilderness state. With respect to countries such as Canada
and Brazil, etc, where there is still more than one fifth of their
forests as pristine wilderness, then these countries could allow some
wildeness to be converted to non-wilderness uses.

At the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, the world's leaders agreed to, and
signed, various protocols and agreements. They identified the five
values of forests that should be sustained by forest management or use.
To quote:  "Forests shall be sustained for their economic, ecological,
social, cultural and spiritual values". 

So, taking the USA as an example:

The USA should keep as pristine wilderness one fifth of the total area
of its forests, to protect the ecological values of forests.


The USA should also keep one fifth of its forests as a place to sustain
the spiritual values that are found in forests. What these spiritual
values are will differ with the varying spiritual values of individuals
and communities.

The USA should also keep one fifth of its forests for their cultural
values...(perhaps "cultural" means the celebration of Paul Bunyan, the
heroic American  pioneer logger or perhaps "cultural" is  the simple
pleasure of anyone being able to go for a walk in the woods?)

The USA should also keep one fifth of its forests for the the social
values of forests. (I see this as meaning the way that forests can
sustain communities, through providing long-term forest related
employment, for ordinary people, usually in the forest/timber industry,
or the recreational/tourism industry).

The USA should also keep one fifth of its forests for the economic
values that forests can provide. (I see the economic values as being the
profits that can be made by companies and their shareholders, and by
entreprenurial individuals).

So that means that:

The USA has real problems. Less than one fifth of the USA's forest is
still pristine wilderness, so the USA will have to return some of its
second-growth forest to as near a original  wilderness state as
possible. This means that some of the public _and_ private forest in the
USA, that is at this moment being used for economic gain, will have to
coverted to wilderness. 

So it is not a matter of "How much of the existing (USA) forest
wilderness should be protected" but "How much of the existing (USA)
second-growth should be taken out of economic use, and returned to

BTW. The UK would have even greater problems than the USA, as there is
*zero* per-cent oldgrowth left in the UK.
Theo Hopkins
Clift and Lower Chample's Wood
Hangman's Hill
EX16 9EN
United Kingdom

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