I am Wilderness uses criteria developed by Conservation International to define wilderness on land. To qualify as “wilderness” under these criteria, areas must have 70 percent or more of their original vegetation, cover at least 10,000 square kilometers, and have fewer than five people per square kilometer. There are 37 such large wilderness areas remaining in the world.
I am Wilderness also looks at wild marine regions as ocean wilderness. This site uses the Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) taxonomy as a default, but I would like to refine this to areas that better correspond with the terrestrial definition of wilderness.
Do you know of a system to help define what regions of the ocean most demonstrate wilderness character? Please help me define this.
Other Perspectives on Wilderness
While some wilderness areas under protection may exist relatively close to population centers, another way to look at wilderness is in terms of accessibility. The following map was developed by the World Bank’s Development Research Group in 2009 to better understand global connectivity and the concentration of economic activity. It also highlighted wilderness – or rather the lack of it.
By this criteria, only 10% of the Earth’s land surface may still qualify as wilderness. The map displays travel time to major cities (in hours and days), and only areas more than 48 hours from a major city are considered wilderness here.