Defining "Wilderness" questionnaire

"Greater effort needs to be made to find a widely acceptable definition or definitions of wilderness that is/are relevant to the British landscape"

This was one of the key policy recommendations from the recent ESRC sponsored "Wilderness Britain: society, policy and environment" conference. Without such a definition or series of nested definitions it is unlikely that wilderness or related concepts will become an integral part of government policy in regard to the wilder parts of the British landscape. One way of moving toward such a goal is to carry out a survey of as many people as possible with a professional interest in this field. To this end we would be grateful if you could complete the following questionnaire.

The response data will be collated and analysed to identify any such patterns that might exist and identify key themes in people's perceptions of "wilderness" in Britain and construct generic definitions. The matrix (or repertory grid) that is part of this questionnaire, while being quite complex, is a key element in this work, so we would be grateful for your time spent over this. All responses will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

All respondents returning completed forms will receive feedback on the questionnaire results and be entered into a draw for a complementary copy of the forthcoming book "Wilderness: nature, people and landscape" to be published by Ashgate.

Thank you for your help in this research.

Dr Steve Carver
School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9JT


Personal profile

Before completing the questionnaire, it would greatly help our work if you could enter a few brief details about yourself. These are not compulsory and all responses will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

Postcode:

Gender: Male    Female

Age group:

Profession: Please select that which most closely describes you

Professional/Managerial Clerical/Secretarial Manufacturing
Shop assistant Public sector Semi-skilled
Housewife Unemployed Academic/Educational
Student At School Retired
Other (please state)

Do you take part in outdoor activities? Yes    No


Defining "wilderness" questionnaire

1. Is "wilderness" a term that is appropriate to any current British landscapes?

Yes    No

2. Please qualify this view if you feel it is necessary.

(If you answered "Yes" to question 1, please go to question 4)

3. If not "wilderness", what other term or terms do you think is/are appropriate to the wilder parts of the British landscape?

4. Which of the following list of descriptive terms or characteristics do you think are applicable to the wilder areas of Britain?

Please consider each of these in turn and how well it describes the wilder areas of Britain.
Use a five point rating scheme, where 1 = slightly applicable, and 5 = extremely applicable.
Leave blank any terms you feel are not relevant. You may enter up to 2 of your own terms under "Other" or leave these blank.

 12345
Wild
Natural
Pristine
Unaltered
Remote
Inaccessible
Uninhabited
Unfrequented
Waste
Empty
Tranquil
Spectacular
Challenging
Other:
Other:

5. Which of the above terms do you feel is the most important defining characteristic?

Wild Natural Pristine Unaltered Remote Inaccessible Uninhabited
Unfrequented Waste Empty Tranquil Spectacular Challenging Other

6. Which of the following list of benefits or values do you think may be associated with the wilder areas of Britain?

Please consider each of these in turn and how well it may be met or achieved within the wilder areas of Britain.
Use a five point rating scheme, where 1 = slightly achievable, and 5 = extremely achievable.
Leave blank any benefits you feel are not relevant. You may enter up to 2 of your own benefits under "Other" or leave these blank.

 12345
Wildlife
Habitat
Biodiversity
Landscape
Water resource
Field study sites
Spirituality
Aesthetics
Pollution sink
Tranquillity
Recreational opportunity
Challenge
Other:
Other:

7. Which of the above benefits do you feel is the most important?

Wildlife Habitat Biodiversity Landscape Water resource
Field study sites Spirituality Aesthetics Pollution sink Tranquillity
Recreational opportunity Challenge Other

8. Please complete the following matrix to give a picture of how the characteristics that you ascribe to the wilder areas of Britain create certain benefits.

The column headings list the characteristics and the row headings list the benefits that might be associated with these. Fill in the matrix one column at a time by considering the degree to which the benefits might be met by the characteristic listed in that column.

Use the following rating scheme to describe how you think the benefits might be related to the characteristics:

For example, if you feel that ecological integrity highly benefits wildlife protection then enter a 3 in this cell, if you think they are not related enter a 0 (zero), or if you think that ecological integrity is highly damaging to wildlife then enter -3 (minus 3).

Characteristic: Ecological integrity Lack of human artefacts Remote from human settlement Remote from mechanised access Aesthetic quality Lack of human interference Absence of human land use Extreme nature of landscape Other Other
Benefit:
Wildlife protection
Habitat protection
Protection of biodiversity
Landscape protection
Recreational opportunity
Watershed protection
Protection of areas for science
Protection of educational environments
Protection of spiritual environments
Other
Other

9. What purpose would any potential formal recognition of "wilderness" in the British landscape serve?

10. Have you any other comments?

11. If entering prize draw

Name:     E-mail/phone:

Thank you.

   


You may also find the following web sites of interest…

Interactive wilderness mapping

ESRC "Wilderness Britain?" seminar series