The article presents various wilderness… When organizing the Wilderness Conference (Prague, May 2009), the organizers found that there is a different perception of the term wilderness, on the one hand Eastern and on the other hand Western European one.
Eastern Europeans see wilderness as an area of the purely pristine native forest without any management throughout the whole forest development. They have been preserved e.g.in Romania, Bulgaria, in Ukraine, the Baltic states but also in Norway are called pristine areas. Western European colleagues declared that wilderness areas – as sites which once had been destroyed by humans and again restored (so called restoration sites) – are in the Netherlands, U.K., or in Belgium. The classification showed that the wilderness issue is not black and white as there are also areas which look like pristine but in which the management stopped e.g.fifty years ago, known as non-intervention areas. There is another problem related to the above issue – the way of categorization of what is and what is not a wilderness area. According to IUCN classification, wilderness areas include only Ia of Ib category, on the other hand, the conference showed that the approach is too narrow and that we should include other ones, e.g.IUCN category II or other when there is a significant shift towards restoration. The approach is also mentioned in the new IUCN Guidelines (IUCN 2008). The PAN Parks Foundation manages a network of protected areas that are still the last untouched lands in Europe and has developed its own “wilderness classification”. The main conference mission – to show that European (not only the EU) wilderness is not the same across the continent was fulfilled which is documented with the final conference document “Poselství (Message) from Prague – An Agenda for Europe’s Wild Areas”.