Typology of human-wilderness relationships

Since the values and the weighting of the key categories described differ­entiate well among three different forms of reasoning, we have developed a typology of human-wilderness relationships (Fig. 2).

The category beauty was crucial for all the interviewees in deciding whether to favour or reject the spread of wilderness. How the three groups concretely described what they perceived to be beautiful, however, was very different. This means that, for this category, interviewees’ descrip­tions of the natural landscapes they perceive to be beautiful, i. e. the values of the category beauty, are especially important for discriminating among the types.

Type I: Conservative wilderness opponents

The pattern of reasoning associated with this type is made up of the cate­gories safety, past as a reference point and usefulness. People who adopted this style of reasoning view uncultivated or no-longer-cultivated nature as a threat. They reject secondary wilderness as they see it as a potential threat to populated areas. Moreover, the fact that such wilderness areas are not economically useful can be decisive in making them reject nature “gone wild”. The conservative wilderness opponents feel obliged to con­tinue the efforts of their ancestors and to maintain tended land or make as much land as possible usable. This type of person also perceives cultivated land to be more beautiful than areas left to develop untouched.

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Fig. 2. Typology of the human-wilderness relationship and the attitudinal rele­vance of the key categories in the human-nature relationship. Beauty, for example, is highly relevant for all types in influencing their attitudes toward wilderness, whereas freedom from regulations was only relevant for the wilderness fans.