Wilderness Value Accounts, Attributes, Functions, and Services are subjects often discussed not only between ecologists but more and more also among economists, sociologists, social psychologists, philosophers, wilderness educators, planners, and policymakers. The following text is a result of a cross-disciplinary discussion for better understanding and organizing the values of Wilderness and the various dimensions of these values:
The framework of discussion accounts for the following dimensions of relevance to identifying, assessing, and measuring Wilderness values: Value accounts, Wilderness attributes, Wilderness functions, Wilderness services, and Wilderness values.
Four primary accounts for categorising the Wilderness values, but not in a mutually exclusive manner, are the social, economic, ecology, and ethical accounts or categories.
- The social account includes a broad array of anthropocentric values and impacts of Wilderness on individuals and communities not measured in money terms
- The economic account includes anthropocentric values and impacts of Wilderness on individuals and communities measured in money terms
- The ecological account includes biophysical concepts and measures of Wilderness ecosystem health and biodiversity
- The ethical account includes philosophical concepts of values and impacts related to fairness, justness, and goodness
Wilderness is both an idea and a place. As a place given special status, Wilderness area have particular observable attributes or characteristics. These attributes, which are objectively measurable, includes the geographic area, location, topography, geologic composition, ecologic composition, ecologic composition, climate, atmosphere, Fauna, and Flora.
One of the first steps towards accessing Wilderness value is to inventory the attributes of Wilderness. This inventory applies specifically to the attributes of statutory designed Wilderness.
This inventory can occur at different scale including assessing the attributes of an individual designated Wilderness area, all designated Wilderness area in a region, or designated Wilderness in the country.