Wilderness Development vs. Preservation
People, animals, plants, land, as well as rocks and water sources are components of the natural environment. People need the environment for survival. This includes sources of food (meat and plants), building materials for shelter, aesthetic viewing, recreation, water, waste disposal grounds, and fresh air among others. Humans acquire tangible products such as fruit, timber, meat, and other products as well as income from tourism and trade. The manner in which people utilize these resources must be considerate in order to allow the environment to regenerate itself for the continuous survival of various plants and animal species. Human activities such as agriculture, settlement, infrastructural development, as well as illegal activities such as wildlife poaching are the biggest contributors of disruption of the eco-system. Increased human population leads to high levels of destruction of wildlife habitat as well as resource overexploitation. Land overuse leads to the reduction of the natural resource base and, therefore, inhibits the ability of the eco-system to support humans, plants, and animals. Decline in important species and animal habitats can be ameliorated if proper and considerate use of natural resources is adopted.
The wilderness is the environment in its natural state being free from human modifications. It is, therefore, intact, undisturbed, and free from human control and infrastructural development. Wilderness offers a place for the survival of given species of animals and plants as well as ground for ecological studies. Operation of natural processes in the wilderness is free from human interference by virtue of being original and natural. Wildlife includes non-domesticated animals and plants, as well as other creatures. People tend to disregard the wilderness and prioritize development of such areas therefore interfering with natural vegetation and landscape to pave way for developmental projects. However, development does not override wilderness because the latter provides goods and services that are not manmade. This discussion seeks to explain why the wilderness should be preserved by showing its importance that overrides development. The paper discusses the benefits of wilderness that warrant protection of wilderness against logging, road building, oil drilling, and industrial development, as well as agriculture.
Wilderness involves vegetation as one of its components. Trees are crucial for purification and filtration of air that people and animals breathe. They are significant in preserving wildlife. Given the high levels of industrialization that have led to emissions of high amount of carbon as a result of combustion in heavy commercial industries, there is a strong need for carbon sinks so that air can be purified and oxygen made available for people to breathe. Trees also filter dust and harmful gases such as carbon monoxide hence making air safe or breathing. Trees are, therefore, the only solution to this problem and therefore even if industrialization as well as development of land has to take place, wilderness must be secured so as to maintain quality air for breathing. Trees also preserve soil by reducing soil erosion and also help to regulate climate by decreasing the impacts of wind, water, and sun on the ground.
Watersheds that supply clean water are located in wilderness. Water is an essential commodity for people, plants, animals, particularly aquatic animals. Trees and other forms of vegetation help in cooling water sources hence reducing the rate of evaporation and therefore maintaining the water flow. Fresh water lakes as well as rivers acquire water from streams and tributaries that originate from thick natural forests. These rivers usually flow for very long distances towards either a lake or ocean. For the globe to meet the water requirements, water sources must be protected so that the sources of clean water can continue to serve people. According to the U.S. Forest Service, about 60 million of Americans are supplied with water by natural forests. Development of the wilderness, on the other hand, leads to the reduction in clean water supply. Hence, there is a need to zone off critical areas that should be left in their natural state.
Wild animals, birds, reptiles, and other creatures that are a source of tourist attraction have their habitats situated in natural forests, grass lands, as well as natural water bodies and swamps. These wild creatures attract tourists and therefore are a vital source of income through domestic and international tourism. Development of the same land alienates wild animals their habitat therefore inhibiting their survival and crippling tourism which largely contributes to the economic development. The wilderness is a source of wild animals that are trapped and kept in zoos and animal orphanages that are located in urban areas and act as tourist attraction sites. Development of wilderness affects migratory routes for animals hence interfering with their normal behavior. Preservation of wilderness also helps to reduce human-wildlife conflict by ensuring that wild animals are not deprived of their dwelling places, as it could force them to invade people’s homes.
People have their recreational needs catered for by wilderness. When people are on vacation or feel tired, they tend to consider the environment a quiet outdoor place free from human crowds. Wilderness also offers an ideal place for camp sites that may allow people, especially urban dwellers, to try village type of life. This environment is only available in the wilderness. By walking, mountain and rock climbing, people feel reenergized and relieved of stress. Such places are considered best by senior people who opt to shun urban life in favor of upcountry setting. Development of such areas leads to the reduction in recreation areas. Hence, it may interfere with the quality of leisure.
Wilderness has received aesthetic and spiritual value by people. Natural beauty possessed by animals, trees, wild flowers, and other organisms bestows value and importance to the nature. This makes the globe a beautiful place that is desirable to live in. Trees have got different shapes, colors, and vegetation, which add beauty to the landscapes and provide beautiful scenes for viewing. They also serve perfect roost nests for birds. For such aesthetic value to be maintained, wilderness must be protected. Development of these areas will deprive the globe of its natural beauty. Some communities values wilderness spiritually. According to their beliefs, sacred trees and places (shrines) are found in those areas. Developing such places leads to destruction of shrines and other organisms that are of spiritual importance.
Wilderness makes it possible to diversify the economy. Apart from industrialization and agriculture, eco-tourism is another option that is offered by the presence of wilderness, as it provides grounds for touring as well as employment for tour guides. This helps to spread economic risks hence reducing uncertainty in the economy and therefore promoting development. Businesses also tend to locate near the wild places, which leads to the increased economic activities in a country. The levies charged in the recreation sites, namely, mountains and caves increases government revenue and creates employment for people. Development of wilderness, on the other hand, leads to destruction of tourism sites as well as employment grounds; hence, the need for preservation is warranted.
Wilderness helps to reduce global warming effects. Trees are important for maintaining water cycle by reducing evaporation rates and lessening carbon dioxide levels in the air. By lowering carbon dioxide levels, the air temperature is moderated. It in turn reduces the accumulation of greenhouse gases. Controlled evaporation rates, as a result of good ground cover, regulate the amount of water vapor in the air. It avoids abnormal and excessive rainfall during winter season as in case of global warming effect. This, in turn, promotes agricultural production and improves the economy, as compared with development of wilderness that brings shot run profits only.
Protection of wilderness helps to preserve bio-diversity. Specific species of animals and plants have their niches situated in the wilderness. Destruction of the wilderness deprives such organisms of their natural habitat hence lowering their survival rates and reducing natural biodiversity. Some rare species of animals and plants are under a threat of extinction due to increased illegal human activities such as poaching and illegal logging. For such species to be maintained there is a need to zone off their wild habitat in order to protect them from human interference. Biodiversity is important for scientific study as well as for balancing eco-system to maintain stability. This has a profound impact on the environment and should therefore be avoided at all costs.
The wilderness has its intrinsic value that allows it to exist not to serve people but because of its natural right of existence. Everything has a purpose for which it exists. Therefore, human interests should not be the basis for which such natural features are to be destroyed. The value of the environment negates the illusion of its existing to serve humans. Every living and non-living organism is significant for the entire eco-system. Therefore, people are also a part of the environment and not its masters. Wild animals, birds, reptiles, and other creatures living in the wilderness have their right to a natural habitat. Human beings should be considerate of them while handling matters of the environment. Development of wilderness violates the rights of such creatures and therefore it should be avoided.
The wilderness has scientific value by virtue of being controlled by nature as opposed to human interference. The best place to conduct academic research of the eco-system is the wilderness because it has its original state and therefore offers the best picture of how organisms behave and interact with one another in their natural habitats as opposed to modified habitats. The wilderness also serves as a source for medicinal substances that are obtained from tree barks or leaves. Thus, developing of such areas is a blow to the field of science and may even harm future generations.
Wilderness has passive benefits that need to be preserved for future generations. This provides a legacy that is passed on from one generation to the other. Wild environment implies that human modifications are not applied and it has its original state and form. When wilderness is conserved, clean and original environment is passed on from ancestors to the current and future generations as well. When children inherit clean environment, this is the best gift they can receive from their parents. Thus, the future of the planet depends on the quality of the environment.
Residents located near wild places have economic benefits such as increased property value as a result of strategic locations that attract investors and property buyers. This happens due to the desire for quiet environment as well as for the tourist attraction by businesses. When employees retire from work at old age, many prefer to relocate from urban areas to rural areas where they can live quiet life. Development of such areas deprives people living near wilderness of the benefits that they accrue. Hence, preservation could be considered a better decision.
Clean sources of energy are provided by the wilderness. Wild land gives solar and wind energy sources which do not inflict harm or have a negative impact on the environment. However, installation of wind mills and solar panels requires a lot of care so that less harm is done to the environment. Natural waterfalls and cataracts also provide grounds for generation of clean electricity through turbines that are turned by water to generate power. Development of the wilderness deprives the economy of clean sources of power hence it is unwarranted.
In conclusion human beings tend to consider development of the economy to the maximum. For instance, they tend to develop the wilderness for the purposes of agriculture and construction among other. They are concentrated mainly on developing the wilderness as much as possible. This demonstrates ignorance of people and their disdainful attitude to the environment. Even though development of the wilderness brings monetary gains in the economy, it also results in certain costs, both in the short run and long run, which people might not be able to pay. This situation could affect contemporary society severely. The wilderness helps to filter and purify the air people breathe and this helps in supplying the earth with clean air. Air is a precious phenomenon whose value is immeasurable financially. Therefore, people should mind air supply when clearing wild vegetation. The natural environment also gives people clean water for consumption. Nevertheless, water supplies reduce as natural forests are cleared. Continuation of this trend may leave the world dry. Therefore, preservation measures need to be put in place. Wild animals that dwell in the wilderness are of economic importance due to tourist attraction. This financial importance may be lost if the wilderness is destroyed. Wilderness offers recreational places which have aesthetic value and which people visit to relax and relieve themselves of boredom and fatigue. If such places are destroyed people may lack places where they can get such leisure. Natural vegetation is vital for moderation of climate through reduction of evaporation rates as well as removal of carbon from air. This helps to reduce global warming and maintain sustainable environment that is suitable for economic development. Through employment of tour guides and revenue collected from recreation facilities plus eco-tourism sites as well as businesses located near the sites, wilderness injects income into the economy and promotes growth. Wilderness provides a biodiversity that is suitable for scientific research and education. Preservation of wilderness has passive benefits that are passed on from one generation to another. This promotes intergeneration legacy. All the benefits above are likely to be lost if the trend of encroaching the wilderness for economic development is continued. This also warrants protection of the wilderness, as it has benefits that cannot be purchased or satisfied using mere human efforts. Destruction of wilderness in the long run will affect the environment adversely to an extent of inability to regenerate itself. This could mean the end of life on the Earth. Therefore, it is necessary to protect the wilderness so that it can continue sustaining not only our lives but also those of our future generations.