Wilderness Policy & Management Issues

© Wild Wonders of Europe

Leading the way for global wilderness policy & management, WILD develops new tools for wilderness designation and management, leads international advocacy for wilderness, works collaboratively on new initiatives, and convenes the World Wilderness Congress to leverage important new policy developments.


A few outstanding accomplishments include:

  • Establishing and defending a wilderness protected area category (Category 1b) in the global protected areas classification system of the World Commission on Protected Areas within the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN);
  • Co-founding and co-chairing IUCN’s Wilderness Specialist Group and coordinating many collaborators to produce international Management Guidelines for IUCN Category 1b wilderness;
  • Pioneering the first private wilderness designation in Africa, and the first wilderness protocol and designation in Latin America (Mexico);
  • Compiling state of the art information on wilderness law and policy including the first ever International Handbook on Wilderness Law and Policy (in English, French, and Spanish), the International Journal of Wilderness and the only text book on wilderness management;
  • Creating the first policy exploration for “marine wilderness” in 1987, that lead eventually to collaboratives at work in numerous countries, and to the first internationally-agreed definition of marine wilderness between Canada, the US, and Mexico;
  • Convening government officials for wilderness conservation at every World Wilderness Congress, but also for specific purposes. In 2004, WILD held a round-table involving officials from 7 countries to review different international legal approaches and protocols to wilderness law and policy. In 2009, we initiated the first ever international agreement on wilderness. At WILD9, government agency representatives from the US, Canada and Mexico signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding  on cooperation for the protection of wilderness, that lead to creation of the international NAWPA Committee;
  • Assisted in the creation of a transboundary, binational protected area of 3 million acres through WILD9 with former Ministers Juan Elvira of Mexico and Kenneth Salazar of the US;
  • Working closely with Indigenous Communities to facilitate peer-to-peer sharing of strategies for native-managed wilderness, and collaborating with them to develop policy mechanisms for wilderness designations by Indigenous groups on tribal lands.
  • Facilitating creation of the first, continental-scale “Vision for a Wilder Europe to address the “rewilding” occurring across Europe due to the accelerating abandonment of land as people move to the cities;
  • Initiated and now collaborating with international policy experts to improve policy that protects remaining primary forests.



WILD is dedicated to providing the most up-to-date tools for decision makers and wilderness managers around the world.  As part of this commitment, we publish the International Journal of Wilderness, the Wilderness Management Textbook and the Handbook on International Wilderness Law & Policy.

Earths Legacy

New, informative global publication on (natural) World Heritage Areas, with beautiful photographs and illustrations.

These tools are used world-wide to design the best legislation for protected areas, inform wilderness managers and provide an exchange of information. Use the images below to navigate and explore each of this resources.

Law and Policy french_law_and_policy_1024x1024 Spanish Law Policy April 2015 IJW_cover_web Wild Mgt 4