One of the most intriguing ideas in conservation is human free habitat, large tracts of land off limits to humans.
Examples of habitat with little human interference exist. Viridian Design founder, Bruce Sterling named these areas Involuntary parks
"They are not representatives of untouched nature, but of *vengeful* nature, of natural processes reasserting themselves in areas of political and technological collapse."Landmines, by acting as a deterant to humans have created several involuntary parks.
Bibliography and Notes on Documentation
Barrio Frojan, C. R. S., and A. P. Vogler. 1999. Landmine clearance in Angola - its likely effect on biodiversity. Oryx, The International Conservation Journal, 33:95-97
"The terrible human conflicts of the past 30 years have protected much of Cambodia's wildlife, with large areas of habitat rendered inaccessible by the presence of the Khmer Rouge and countless land mines. The Cardamoms remain a near pristine wilderness . .."
In the 1980's Sea Turtle nesting beaches were protected from poaching by the presence of landmines. (per. com. with Dr. Jim Butler)
European Wolf Newsletter:
"The Croatian side of the area is covered by several land mine fields which are not entered by people, and represent safe haven for wildlife. In combination with the availability of a sufficient number of unprotected livestock this might have caused the comeback of wolves in the area."
"Occasionally one of our own goes off, usually when a deer or other wildlife creature steps on them. Each incident is investigated, however. We saw numerous iguana and hutias or "banana rats" as we made our fence line tour."
Falkland/ Malvinas Islands
"Until minefields made Stanley's beaches once more safe safe for nesting, penguins had sought refuge in other islands." (Hodgson, p. 409)
Berlin Wall "Death Strip"
East or West, Home is Best---for the Birds
Viridian Note 00242: German Involuntary Park
The Show So Far blog has a column - observing ruderal ecologies with pictures.
Green Ribbon Lifeline
The DMZ Forum is working to establish a peace park between North and South Korea.
Ironically, about the only protection for desert ecology in the war zone was provided by mine fields, according to Mane Al-Sudairawi of the KSR. Iraqi troops laid more than a million mines in two defensive lines along Kuwait's 175 kilometer border with Saud i Arabia, from Gulf shore to Wadi Al-Batin. The mines kept vehicles and grazing animals away, and protected the natural vegetation. But after the liberation, when the mines were cleared, the impact on the desert was devastating. Misak says that huge stretches of desert were ploughed up as teams sear ched for the mines and detonated them. He says the result was "complete destruction of the vegetation cover" along a band that averaged 500 metres wide. (Pearce, 1995)