"An Ecological Concept of Wilderness"

Many share the conviction that wilderness should play a special role in any environmental ethic, even though the concept of wilderness remains contentious. Ever since it has been recognized that the traditional concept of a wilderness as a region "untrammeled" by human beings has a number of intractable difficulties, there has been no consensus on how we should understand wilderness, and most definitions or descriptions of wilderness remain negative (defining wilderness in terms of what it is not). I propose a new ecological concept of wilderness, and show that this concept escapes the difficulties of the traditional concept and its recent alternatives, while being a useful ancillary to some of the leading contemporary theories in environmental ethics.
Ethics and the Environment, Vol. 17, No. 1, Spring 2012.