Wilderness refers to an area of earth that has not been under the influence of human activities. It represents the undisturbed part of the environment that contains natural biodiversity. Natural processes occur in order for a balance to be accomplished in the ecosystem, and human beings have no control of whatever happens in the wilderness (Hall 2005). Such areas are usually found in the protected natural forests, parks, along the riparian zones and many places where there are no development activities by humans. However, humans can carry out their activities in the wilderness so long as its state remains unchanged. In other words, it has to remain wild in nature in order for it to qualify to be referred to as wilderness.
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Wilderness is of paramount importance for man, as well as the survival of plant and animal species. Before urbanization and the spread of man all over the world, species diversity was optimum. The natural systems were self regulating without interference. Natural selection determined the existence of species. After man begun interfering with the wilderness for the purposes of industrialization and urbanization, some species could not withstand the pressure exerted on them, which led to their extinction. Those that survived were forced to establish in the remaining part of the wilderness where man does not have much influence. Studies in ecology significantly depend on the wilderness. This is where new knowledge regarding the ecosystem has been discovered over the years (Peet and Urban 2008).
The wilderness is significant in the maintenance of wild biota that is difficult to reconstruct in the artificial systems such as the modern laboratories. More over, the wilderness has all through been an important source of medicine. Human beings are presently able to deal with diseases that were beyond control as a result of the discovery of medicinal plants, which apart from providing sustenance of human life are also used for business. Pharmaceutical companies generate millions of dollars from production of medicine from the wilderness. It is also used for recreation and solace in times of loneliness (Hall 2005). For example, the parks are important places for recreation, while the beauty and calmness of the natural forests generates a feeling of peace to humans.
The wilderness is a major form a major tourist attraction, which is an important source of income for many economies that have been able to maintain natural systems in protected areas such as parks (Yunus et al 2000). More over, many communities attach religious and cultural values to the wilderness. Under such situations, it helps to maintain harmony in the community. The major controversy that surrounds wilderness areas is the fact that they can not be more important than man. They have to be used in order to facilitate the survival of man. When they turn out to hamper the existence of man, then they have to be eradicated. For example, a wilderness area that serves as breeding ground for harmful wild organisms that originate disease is of no use to man and should be eliminated.
Steps to Help Restore Natural Area
The most important step to take in helping to restore the wilderness is to leave the natural processes to take place and stop human interference. This will allow natural regeneration, which is important in restoring biodiversity. Protection of the wilderness areas is also important in order to prevent human activities from affecting the natural systems. Sensitization of people regarding the importance of biodiversity can help in awareness creation, which generates a positive view of people in regard to the wilderness, hence the avoidance of destruction. Some areas can be left for regeneration of wilderness even where there is human settlement, as well as planting of tree species that were indigenous to a particular area before human settlement (Jordan 2003).
Hall M. (2005). Earth Repair: A Transatlantic History of Environmental Restoration. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.
Jordan, W.R. 2003. The Sunflower Forest: Ecological Restoration and the New Communion with Nature. Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Peet R. K. and Urban D. L. (2008). Changes in forest structure, species diversity, and spatial pattern following hurricane disturbance in a Piedmont North Carolina forest, USA. Journal of Plant Ecology 1:43-57.
Yunus M., Singh N. and Kok de L. J. (2000). Environmental Stress: Indication, Mitigation and Eco-conservation, Springer