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The Wildland Research Institute (WRi) aims to identify and elucidate the requirements, strategies and policies for a transition to a greater presence of wild landscapes within the wider land use continuum of Britain and Europe (click here). The broad activities of the Institute combine social and natural sciences, as well as the arts and literary world, in leading-edge, interdisciplinary research. Our main research areas and expertise include:

  • Mapping and modelling wildness attributes and wilderness quality
  • Landscape evaluation
  • Re-wilding and habitat restoration
  • Policy analysis and advice
  • Tracking developments in European wilderness protection (click here)


Alan Watson awarded prestigious position in USFS: A panel of scientists from across the United States met in January to review the career accomplishments of Supervisory Research Social Scientist Dr. Alan Watson of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute. The panel recommended Watson be promoted to an “ST” graded position in recognition of his contributions and leadership on wilderness science teams facilitated by the Leopold Institute. Read more here.

Mapping the spread of wind farms across Scotland: A new animation showing the visual impact from industrial wind energy developments across Scotland from 1995 to 2015 has been developed by WRi with the John Muir Trust. This is now available here.

New Book: A Dream of a Low Carbon Future by James McKay and Benjamin Dickinson. A graphic novel describing Leeds and the county of Yorkshire (now Elmet) in the post sea level rise world of 2150.

Ongoing projects:

  • Developing the EU’s new Wilderness Register (with partners Alterra and EWS).
  • Developing web-based participatory mapping tools for visitor experience in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska (with partners Leopold Institute, Missoula, Montana).
  • Mapping wildlife corridors using GIS and participatory methods in La Primavera Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. See video here.
  • Mapping wildness in England and Wales.
  • The value of tribal engagement for monitoring the effects of fire and fuels management on culturally significant plants of the Colville National Forest, Northeast Washington.
  • Animation of spread of wind farms and their visual impact across Scotland. See animation here.
  • A review of the socio-economic and environmental benefits of wildland in Scotland (with partners in SRUC and CMC, Scotland).

Latest publication: Fisher, M & Parfitt, A. (2016) The challenge of wild nature conserving itself. in ECOS 37(3/4), 27-34.

Quote of the week: “The continued existence of wildlife and wilderness is important to the quality of life of humans.”  Jim Fowler.