Welcome to the WRi

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. 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


WRi partners with European Wilderness Society: Former PAN Parks Leaders have set up the European Wilderness Society to continue their valuable work spearheading the protection of wilderness in Europe and safeguard those areas which have escaped development. Read more about the EWS here. WRi and EWS are looking at ways to cement the partnership, underpinning wilderness protection in Europe with good science and ethical approaches.

New European wilderness standards published: The EWS have published a new European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System. This is a standardized and applicable wilderness standard that serves as a basis for effective wilderness protection, designation, restoration, and promotion initiatives across a range of geographic and cultural circumstances in all European Countries.

WRi visitorKarina Aguilar joins WRi to work on a connectivity and participatory GIS project in La Primavera Biosphere Reserve, Mexico funded by the Darwin Initiative.

Scottish wild land Policy: based on WRi methods and approaches to wildness mapping, widl land and a new wild land map developed by SNH has made it in to the final version of the Scottish National Planning Framework – see here for more details.

Ongoing projects:

  • Developing the EU’s new Wilderness Register (with partners Alterra and PanParks)
  • 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
  • Various wildness mapping studies for clients including the Scottish national parks, the John Muir Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage and US National Parks Service.

Latest publication: Carver, S., Tricker, J., & Landres, P. (2013). Keeping it wild: Mapping wilderness character in the United States. Journal of Environmental Management, 131, 239-255. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.08.046

Quote of the week: “Wilderness  is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit” Edward Abbey