OOS 17
50 Years of Wilderness Science: What Have Wilderness Areas Taught Us About Ecosystems?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
306, Sacramento Convention Center
R. Travis Belote, The Wilderness Society
Matt Dietz, The Wilderness Society; Gregory H. Aplet, The Wilderness Society; Wendy M. Loya, The Wilderness Society; Peter S. McKinley, The Wilderness Society; Jason Leppi, The Wilderness Society; and Hugh Irwin, The Wilderness Society
R. Travis Belote, The Wilderness Society
2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. In its half-century, the Wilderness Act has provided the U.S. Congress authority to establish over 100 million acres of land “where earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man.” Wilderness areas help sustain biological diversity and important ecosystem services and, therefore, remain a vital part of global conservation networks. As the science of ecology has matured to span spatial scales and ecological levels from genes to landscapes to global processes, wilderness areas may also serve as a scientific resource where landscapes function as untreated controls. In addition, large tracts of wilderness may provide unique opportunities to study ecosystem patterns and processes that function at large spatial scales where human intervention is minimized. In this session, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, and will highlight the role wilderness areas and wilderness-quality lands can play in understanding and sustaining ecosystems. We will focus on ecological themes that benefit from using wilderness areas as sources of inference while also addressing dilemmas associated with non-interventionist approaches to conservation. Themes covered by our speakers will include: (1) disturbance dynamics in maintaining landscape composition and structure, with particular emphasis on the ecological role of fire; (2) movement and stability of populations of animals across large landscapes; and (3) spatial structure and persistence of populations at the watershed scale. Speakers will also address the role of wilderness areas in understanding ecological processes in response to the impacts of global change, offering case studies of dilemmas and possible tradeoffs between conserving “untrammeled” land and sustaining biodiversity and ecological processes.
1:50 PM
 Representation of ecological systems within the National Wilderness Preservation System of the contiguous United States: Prioritizing conservation areas for the next 50 years
Matthew S. Dietz, The Wilderness Society; R. Travis Belote, The Wilderness Society; Gregory H. Aplet, The Wilderness Society; Jocelyn L. Aycrigg, University of Idaho
2:10 PM
2:30 PM
 Facilitating a trophic cascade from wolves through coyotes to foxes: How much wilderness is enough?
Thomas M. Newsome, Oregon State University; William J. Ripple, Oregon State University
3:10 PM
3:20 PM
 Structure, dynamics, and persistence of Chinook salmon in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness
Russell F. Thurow, USDA Forest Service; Daniel J. Isaak, USFS; Helen M. Neville, Trout Unlimited
3:40 PM
 Wild salmon ecosystems: Watershed complexity and its importance to fisheries and wildlife
Daniel E. Schindler, University of Washington; Jonathan B. Armstrong, Oregon State University