Editorial Perspectives  

December 2014 | Volume 20, Number 3


This year, 2014, is the 20th anniversary of the International Journal of Wilderness – a good time to review where we’ve been, and where we’re headed.
Conceived as a partnership between wilderness managers, users, advocates, educators, and scientists, IJW’s start-up was supported by 18 organizational sponsors: the 4 wilderness-managing federal agencies and their Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Center; leading wilderness groups such as The Wilderness Society, Outward Bound, NOLS, Wilderness Watch, and others; and The WILD Foundation and Fulcrum Publishing, who produced IJW both then and now.

IJW was initially housed at the University of Idaho Wilderness Research Center where John Hendee served as managing editor, assisted by production editor Michelle Mazzolla. Guidance was provided by five IJW executive editors to serve as an editorial board advising on policy, recruiting articles, and providing quality control by arranging reviews, and a diverse panel of 36 associate editors as potential reviewers of submitted articles and ongoing IJW content.

The same basic structure remains today, with the exception of personnel changes. John Hendee was succeeded as managing editor in 2001 by Chad Dawson, who also guided IJW’s move online for subscriptions and the archive of 20 years of back issues (www.ijw.org), and now with Robert Dvorak ready to transition to managing editor in 2015. There have been some changes over the years among the IJW editorial board, but Alan Watson and Vance Martin are still active leaders in that body. Current IJW board members and associate editors are listed on the masthead of every issue.

Published three times a year, IJW content includes the following sections: Features, which comprises an editorial and a “Soul of the Wilderness” article from a leader in the wilderness community; Stewardship articles; Science & Research (peer reviewed) material with study results; Education & Communication articles; International Perspectives; and a Digest of wilderness news and calendar with important announcements; and Book Reviews.

It is difficult to single out material to highlight over 20 years, but several “Soul of the Wilderness” articles stand out: top government leaders who articulated wilderness policy and plans, numerous writers with constructive criticism regarding wilderness stewardship, and creative thinking from leaders in the wilderness movement. Summary reports from the periodic World Wilderness Congresses have provided benchmarks of progress in wilderness protection globally. More than 100 book reviews have assessed the most current wilderness-related books.

With its continuing structure, IJW content will take this template forward to embrace wilderness progress, challenges, and changes into the future. Going forward, we expect wilderness to assume greater importance for the increasingly valuable ecosystem services it generates – clean air, water, natural gene pools, and wildlife species; its moderating effects on climate change; and as a benchmark of natural ecosystem response. And no less important is the value of wilderness to human experience as a refuge from hectic modern life as well as a place to recover our natural balance and heal from stress. As we move ahead, our goal is to provide current content to keep our readers in touch with these trends in an accurate and supportive way.

In this issue we learn about efforts to protect the lower Mississippi River, protect natural areas in the Chicago urban area, restore the forests of Scotland, protect wild trout waters, ecosystem services, and other topics.


JOHN C. HENDEE was the IJW founding managing editor and is emeritus professor and retired dean, University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources; email: john@wild.org.


CHAD P. DAWSON is the current co-managing editor for IJW and is emeritus professor and former head, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse, New York; email:cpdawson@esf.edu.