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The spiritual values of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and implications for wilderness management

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Ashley, PL (2009) The spiritual values of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and implications for wilderness management. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Are wilderness areas more than just a recreational opportunity, tourist destination or objects
of scientific curiosity? People may well be attracted to wild nature in pursuit of deeper
meanings other than by these examples of visitor motivations. Representing a benchmark in
Australia, if not internationally, the aim of this exploratory research was to develop a greater
understanding of the spiritual values of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and
their relevance to wilderness management processes. The work has a pragmatic intent, with
results intended to assist future management planning and operational decisions in
Tasmania, and inform wilderness management practices in other wilderness areas and
jurisdictions more generally.
The aim was achieved by a questionnaire survey sent to random samples of the general
public and members of The Wilderness Society in Tasmania, and to staff of the Tasmanian
Parks and Wildlife Service involved with management of the Tasmanian wilderness. A variety
of statistical analyses, including Pearson product-moment correlation, stepwise regression,
and factor analysis were conducted on the data to examine and test the relationships
between all of respondents' underlying general spirituality, wilderness spirituality, attitudes to
solitude, and answers to various management related questions. Content analysis of the
meanings of wilderness spirituality and scene analysis of wilderness photographs
complemented the quantitative techniques.
The results show wilderness spirituality to be different to spirituality in general, and
unequivocally demonstrate for the first time, the existence and importance of the spiritual
value of the Tasmanian wilderness. The research also identifies the landscape elements
contributing to a spiritual experience, describes the defining characteristics of wilderness
spirituality, confirms the important role that solitude and peace and quiet plays in the
wilderness experience, and suggests that conservationists are more disposed to wilderness
spirituality than the general public and wilderness managers. Respondents' disposition to
spirituality in general was found to be the main determinant of their wilderness spirituality.
In the absence of an established literature on the operationalisation of spiritual values of
wilderness into field management frameworks and management plans, recommendations
are presented for consideration by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service to maintain and
improve the spiritual values of the Tasmanian wilderness. The research will assist managers
to take better account of spiritual values through the preservation of wilderness and
maintaining the wilderness character that contribute to spiritual experiences. While the
results and recommendations are derived from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage
Area, they can also be used to inform wilderness management elsewhere.
Theoretical and methodological contributions include the assignment of wilderness spirituality
among forms of spirituality, identification of the defining characteristics of wilderness
spirituality, measurement of wilderness spirituality, and advancing the use of photoelicitation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, World Heritage areas, National parks and reserves, Wilderness areas, Wilderness area users, Nature
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2009 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2009. Includes bibliographical references. Ch. 1. Introduction -- Ch.2. Wilderness -- Ch. 3. Spirituality -- Ch. 4. Wilderness and spirituality -- Ch. 5. Empirical research methods -- Ch. 6. Wilderness spirituality -- Ch. 7. Social variability in wilderness spirituality -- Ch. 8. Perceptions of management needs and their correlates -- Ch. 9. Maintaining wilderness spirituality -- Ch. 10. Summary and concluding comments

Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2014 00:57
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2017 23:07
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