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The call of different wilds: the importance of definition and perception in protecting and managing Scottish wild landscapes

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Concepts of wild land have recreational, ecological and cultural dimensions, and place varying emphasis on physical landscape attributes and the perceptions of users. In Scotland, national and NGO policies show reasonable consistency in interpreting and defining 'wild land', emphasising the (perception of) lack of current human influence as a key criterion. This research used semi-structured interviews with key individuals and a questionnaire survey of land managers to evaluate concepts and perceptions of wild land in Scotland. Recognising that the conceptual and spatial definition of wild land is a key issue, a new typology is proposed. Weaknesses in the policy framework, as well as key potential threats to, and opportunities associated with, wild landscapes are identified. Management initiatives are fitted to the typology and divided into four management themes. Key recommendations are: (i) that national policy for wild landscapes needs to incorporate criteria, which recognise the multiple values deriving from such areas; and (ii) that future research should combine user group preferences with physical attribute information in determining what constitutes wild landscapes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Mountain Studies, Perth College, UHI Millennium Institute, Perth, UK 2: School of Geography and Geosciences, University of St. Andrews, Fife, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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