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European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System

European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System

The European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System

All Wilderness areas in the European Wilderness Network have been audited and certified according to the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System, which consists of:

  • 9 Principles
  • 54 Criteria
  • 300+ Indicators
  • up to 14 day field audit
  • 6 months research and analysis of findings
  • 200-page SWOT Analysis
  • Detailed recommendations

It is a habitat independent, solution oriented, EU-wide basis for Wilderness Stewardship Plans with continuous controls and audits supported by marketing. The European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System process has different variants depending on size and objectives of the Wilderness or Wild Area: The European Wilderness Quality Standard Quick-Audit and the European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit.

European Wilderness Audits

During the Wilderness Audits, the auditors will examine all relevant documents and take a closer look on the following topcis during meetings with the Wilderness management team and up to 14 days in the field:

  • Examination of the map of the proposed Wilderness,
  • An analysis of the zoning system (particularly conditions of the Wilderness zone),
  • The compatibility and size differences between zoning of the audited protected area and the Wilderness zoning of the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System,
  • The management plan for the potential Wilderness,
  • Its biodiversity and tourism value,
  • The potential for enlargement of the proposed Wilderness,

The outcome of a Quick or Full-Audit:

  • A detailed SWOT analysis with recommendations for action,
  • A Wilderness Quality categorisation according to the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System,
  • Comprehensive communication support with Public Relations, promotional material like flags, folders, stickers, and listing in the European Wilderness Preservation System,
  • A Monitoring and Evaluation plan by the European Wilderness Society,
  • A comprehensive Wilderness Audit-Report.

European Wilderness Categories

The European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System differentiates between:

  • Wilderness – Wilderness with a mixed habitat with a minimum Wilderness zone size of 1000 ha
  • WILDIsland –  Islands with a No-Go zone and no minimum Wilderness zone size
  • WILDForests – Wilderness with a predominant wild forest 
  • WILDCoasts – Wilderness combining a land and a marine wilderness including the beach 
  • WILDRivers – Wilderness along a rivers and riparian areas

In each of the five categories the European Wilderness Society differentiates the Wilderness quality using a Bronze to Platinum standard with Platinum being the most pristine and largest Wilderness with a minimum Wilderness Zone of 10 000 ha.



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