Environmental Management

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 815–825 | Cite as

Using ecological criteria to evaluate wilderness planning options in Idaho

  • Troy Merrill
  • R. Gerald Wright
  • J. Michael Scott
Profile

Abstract

Legally designated wilderness areas are acknowledged to be an important element in strategies to conserve biological diversity in United States. However, because of the restrictions on consumptive uses in wilderness, their establishment is normally contentious. Criteria for establishment have typically been associated with opportunity and aesthetic and experiential values. Biological data have not normally played a major role in guiding wilderness establishment. We present four wilderness allocation options for those public lands considered suitable for wilderness designation in Idaho. These options cover the span of choices presently available to wilderness planners in the state and range from not establishing any new wilderness areas to the inclusion of all suitable lands in wilderness. All options are evaluated using spatial biological data from the National Biological Survey's Gap Analysis Project. A conservation strategy that would protect a minimum of 10% of the area occupied by each of 113 native vegetation types and at a minimum 10% of the distribution of each of 368 vertebrate species was evaluated for each option. Only the inclusion of all suitable lands in wilderness, creating a system of 5.1 million ha came close to achieving these goals, protecting 65% of the vegetation types and 56% of the vertebrate species. We feel this approach, which allows planners to evaluate the ecological merits of proposed widerness units along with other values, can provide a means to resolve the impasse over additional wilderness designation in Idaho.

Key Words

Biodiversity Wilderness Planning GIS Gap analysis 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Caicco, S. L. 1989. Manual to accompany the map of the existing vegetation of Idaho. Draft report. University of Idaho.Google Scholar
  2. Diamond, J. 1986. The design of nature reserve systems for Indonesian New Guinea. Pages 485–503in M. E. Soule (ed.), Conservation biology. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  3. Franklin, J. F. 1993. Preserving biodiversity: Species, ecosystems, or Landscapes?Ecological Applications 3:202–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Grumbine, E. 1990. Protecting biological diversity through the greater ecosystem concept.Natural Areas Journal 10:114–120.Google Scholar
  5. Hendee, J. C., G. H. Stankey, and R. C. Lucas (eds.). 1990. Wilderness management. Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado.Google Scholar
  6. Hummel, M. 1989. Endangered spaces: The future for Canada's wilderness. Key Porter Books, Toronto.Google Scholar
  7. Jennings, M. D. 1993. Natural terrestrial cover classification: Assumptions and definitions. Gap Analysis Technical Bulletin 2. Idaho Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.Google Scholar
  8. Kirkpatrick, J. B., and M. J. Brown. 1994. A comparison of direct and environmental domain approaches to planning reservation of forest higher plant communities and species in Tasmania.Conservation Biology 8:217–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. MacCracken, J. G., J. O'Laughlin, and T. Merrill. 1993. Idaho roadless areas and wilderness proposals. Report No. 10. Idaho Forest, Wildlife, and Range Policy Analysis Group. University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho.Google Scholar
  10. Margules, C. R. 1989. Introduction to some Australian developments in conservation evaluation.Biological Conservation 50:1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. McKendry, J. E., and G. E. Machlis. 1993. The role of geography in extending gap analysis.Applied Geography 13: 135–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Miller, K. R. 1984. The Bali action plan: A framework for the future of protected areas. Pages 756–764in J. A. McNeely and K. R. Miller (eds.), National parks, conservation, and development. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  13. Noss, R. F. 1990. Protecting natural areas in fragmented landspaces.Natural Areas Journal 7:1–13.Google Scholar
  14. Noss, R. F. 1992. The wildlands project: Land conservation strategy.Wild Earth 1:10–25.Google Scholar
  15. Omernik, J. M. 1986. Ecoregions of the United States. Map. US Environmental Protection Agency, Corvallis, Oregon.Google Scholar
  16. Roth, D. M. 1988. The wilderness movement and the national forests. Intaglio Press, College Station, Texas, 92 pp.Google Scholar
  17. Scott, J. M., B. Csuti, J. J. Jacobi, and J. E. Estes. 1987. Species richness: A geographic approach to protecting future biological diversity.BioScience 37:782–788.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Scott, J. M., F. Davis, B. Csuti, R. Noss, B. Butterfield, S. Caicco, C. Grooves, J. Ulliman, H. Anderson, and R. G. Wright. 1993. Gap analysis: A geographic approach to protection of biological diversity.Wildlife Monograph 123:1–41.Google Scholar
  19. Tear, T. H., J. M. Scott, P. H. Hayward, and B. Griffith. 1993. Status and prospects for success of the Endangered Species Act: A look at recovery plans.Science 262:976–977.Google Scholar
  20. US Forest Service. 1978. Roadless area review and evaluation (RARE II). Draft environmental impact statement 78-04. Washington, DC, 112 pp.Google Scholar
  21. Wright, R. G. 1984. Wildlife resources in creating the new Alaskan parks and preserves.Environmental Management 14:121–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Wright, R. G., J. G. MacCracken, and J. Hall. 1994. An ecological evaluation of proposed new conservation areas in Idaho: Evaluating proposed Idaho national parks.Conservation Biology 8:207–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Troy Merrill
    • 1
  • R. Gerald Wright
    • 2
  • J. Michael Scott
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of IdahoMoscowUSA
  2. 2.Cooperative Park Studies Unit Department of Fish and Wildlife ResourcesUniversity of IdahoMoscowUSA
  3. 3.Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Department of Fish and Wildlife ResourcesUniversity of IdahoMoscowUSA

Personalised recommendations