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[pct-l] True wilderness

I was very interested to read about the LNT series, and Birgitte's and
Blisterfree's opinions about the wilderness becoming a museum glasscase and
particularly Birgitte mentioning 'true wilderness.' Maybe the first
question-the answers to which I would love to read-would be to ask what
'true wilderness' is in your minds. We Europeans would not even think of
considering nature / the wilderness on a 'switch on - switch off' basis, I
mean the wilderness being nature before, say, modern man, which would imply
that there is a date when the wilderness was pristine, and a date when
decay began. Or we could also say there is a condition which could
constitute the definition of 'true wilderness.' On this side of the
Atlantic we tend to believe that what we consider to be pristine nature is
anyway the result of man's presence and work over the centuries, if not
millennia. For instance, I recently watched a BBC programme about the New
Forest, one of Britain's most beautiful and apparently pristine national
parks. They clearly explained that everything in that seemingly untouched
piece of wilderness had been created / altered by man's actions through
grazing, deer raising and hunting, through numerous regulations and
activities over the centuries, etc. This could imply that man's
interactions with nature are not all bad, a comforting thought...

What about America then ? When did the wilderness begin ? Can you pinpoint
a starting-point that would define 'genuine' wilderness ? Was that before
or after the dinosaurs ? Don't you think native Americans interacted with
the wilderness (for instance, the celebrated Yosemite meadows) so that it
becomes very difficult to locate that 'Day 1' of the wilderness, and even
more difficult to select the date when evolution has to stop ?
Of course I am just teasing you, and I know we can't  deny the (very)
negative consequences of man's exploitation of nature, just as we can't
ignore the terrible damage modern man can inflict on nature. Anyway, I
would love to read about your definition of the wilderness, because in a
way Eve picking up that apple started altering the wilderness, didn't she ?

Philippe Gouvet

Philippe GOUVET
IUP Amenagement et Developpement Territorial
Universite de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour
B.P. 1148
Faculte des Lettres - 64013 PAU cedex - FRANCE
Tel.  05 59 06 51 54
Fax. 05 59 06 62 48
From outside France :
Home phone # (33) 5 59 06 51 54
Home fax #      (33) 5 59 06 62 48

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