The Wilderness Act protects 175,000 square miles of public land. As the natural world is transformed by climate change, has the landmark 1964 law become counterproductive? Biologists Daniel T. Blumstein and Thomas B. Smith explain. Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Daniel Blumstein and Thomas Smith for Public Square—Is the Wilderness Act Still Protecting Nature?

In a new essay for Public Square, UCLA professors Daniel Blumstein and Thomas Smith discuss the implications of the Wilderness Act of 1964 on effective land management and climate research. They highlight how the act, designed to protect undeveloped areas, is now being used in ways that hinder scientific research and federal land management efforts. 

Blumstein and Smith emphasize the importance of reevaluating how the act is applied to balance conservation goals with the need for scientific research in these areas. They argue that while wilderness areas are crucial for biodiversity, they also need to accommodate research to effectively manage human impacts and protect species in the face of climate change.