ITALY - LIGURIA - European Wilderness Society


Wilderness represents a vital element of Europe’s natural and cultural heritage. Still, there was no common understanding what Wilderness actually is. That’s why the European Wilderness Definition was developped.

In addition to its intrinsic value, Wilderness offers the opportunity for people to experience the spiritual quality of nature in the widest experiential sense – beyond mere physical and visual attributes, in particular through its psychological impact. They also provide important economic, social, and environmental benefits, including ecosystem services, for local communities, landowners and society as a whole. 

Wilderness performs several functions better than modified landscapes. Among these are:

  • Conserving Biodiversity
  • Protecting Ecosystem Services
  • Connecting Landscapes
  • Capturing and Storing Carbon Dioxide
  • Building Knowledge and Understanding of Natural Processes
  • Inspiring People

The concept of Wilderness has gained considerable momentum in Europe during the last 15 years. A milestone was the adoption of the “European Parliament Resolution on Wilderness in Europe” in February 2009, which calls on the European Commission to:

  • Develop a clear definition of Wilderness.
  • Mandate the European Environment Agency to map existing Wilderness areas in Europe.
  • Undertake a study on the values and benefits of Wilderness.
  • Develop an EU Wilderness strategy.
  • Stimulate the development of new Wilderness areas through restoration.
  • Promote the values of Wilderness together with NGOs & local communities.