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Posted by on Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 8:05pm.

Trees are renewable resources, aren't they? Because when people cut them down, you can just plant new ones. However, is the wilderness renewable? If not, how can this be? I am reading A Sand County Almanac and Leopold says that wilderness is a resource that can shrink but not grow. Can't it grow if you plant more trees?

  • science - , Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 8:07pm

    wilderness in general doesn't only contain trees..it contains habitats for animals and complex systems where one animal depends on the other.
    If one species goes extinct another might go extinct as well and you can't just replace them.

  • science - , Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 8:18pm

    I know, but if you plant new trees, can you not create/supply new habitats?

  • science - , Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 8:26pm

    Yes, you create new habitats -- but it's no longer a wilderness.

  • science - , Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 8:25pm

    Christina's right. Wilderness contains much more than trees. Here's the definition of wilderness from Dictionary.com.

    "a wild and uncultivated region, as of forest or desert, uninhabited or inhabited only by wild animals; a tract of wasteland."

    Once people have cut down trees or otherwise interfered with the wilderness, it's no longer a wilderness. Habitats for animals and other plants are disrupted, often to the point of no return.

  • science - , Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 8:29pm

    So you're saying that when you create new habitats, it is no longer wilderness because of human interference?

    Don't polluting gases occupy every inch of the atmosphere? Are they not above every living thing on this Earth? Doesn't human influence reach everywhere, even wilderness?

  • science - , Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 8:55pm

    That's right. A wilderness has little if any human interference.

    Your second statement is also correct. Polluting gases and polluted water harm our environment, including wildernesses. Remember your original quote from Aldo Leopold: "wilderness is a resource that can shrink but not grow." But pollution doesn't change a wilderness if there are no roads or human activity on the ground.

  • science - , Sunday, October 14, 2007 at 11:25am

    Well if you're saying creating new habitats makes something not wilderness becuase of human interference how can you say something is wilderness when you agree that polluting gases reach wilderness? Can't pollution change wilderness?

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