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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
  • 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 great 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 Quality Standard Quick-Audit

This is for most larger areas typically the first step in the Wilderness audit process. In addition, the European Wilderness Quality Standard Quick-Audit is the perfect tool for most smaller wild areas with an exceptional high quality of wilderness but limited budgets that are interesting in joining the European Wilderness Preservation System and to prepare them for the full implementation of the European Wilderness Quality Standard.

The European Wilderness Quality Standard Quick-Audit also provides an opportunity for the audited Wilderness area to correct weaknesses before undergoing a full certification according to the  European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit.

During the Quick-Audit, the auditors will examine all relevant documents and over these topcis:

  • Examination of the map of the proposed Wilderness,
  • A short 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,
  • A detailed itinerary of the Quick-Audit,
  • A 3-5 day field audit of the proposed Wilderness,
  • A 6-page summary of the European Wilderness Quality Standard Quick-Audit results based upon nine principles, 48 criteria and almost 50 indicators.
  • A short list of the main recommendations based on the quick-audit and
  • A preliminary Wilderness Quality categorization according to the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System for a maximum of  5 years.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit

The European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit is a systematic and very professional examination for larger Wilderness focusing on a high Quality of Wilderness and protected areas already dedicated to a wilderness management approach.

The European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit involves a minimum of 14 days field work including overnight stays in the area, 6 months of research and desk work and recommendations based upon a highly detailed Wilderness Strength, Weakness, Threats and Opportunities analysis report.

A European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit includes in additional to the above mentioned topics such issues as:

  • An executive summary.
  • Comprehensive maps and photos depicting the visual highlights of the audited Wilderness.
  • A detailed scientific explanation of the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System in the context of current wilderness research,
  • The history of Wilderness protection in Europe,
  • A more detailed explanation of the verification team and their itinerary,
  • A highly detailed biodiversity description of the habitat of the audited Wilderness.
  • A detailed description of the legal structure, the management, the tourism and the educational programmes of the audited Wilderness.
  • A 12-14 day field audit of the proposed Wilderness.
  • A 150-page highly detailed analysis of the European Wilderness Quality Standard Quick-Audit results based upon nine principles, 48 criteria and almost 300 indicators.
  • A detailed SWOT analysis with recommendations for action
  • A Wilderness Quality categorization according to the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System for a minimum of 10 years.
  • Comprehensive communication support with Public Relations, promotional material like flags, folders, stickers, and listing in the European Wilderness Preservation System
  • Monitoring and Evaluation plan by the European Wilderness Society.
  • Valid for 10 years with a free monitoring audit after 5 years.

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 and a minimum size of 500 ha
  • WILDCoasts – Wilderness combining a land and a marine wilderness including the beach and a minimum wilderness zone size of 500 ha
  • WILDRivers – Wilderness along a river with a minimum length of 2 km and only a Transition and a Wilderness zone.

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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