Developed areas are simple enough to explain, they would follow the same rules of good land and ocean stewardship that are applied everywhere today. So, what does “preserved” mean? In short:
- No exploitation via agriculture, fishing, forestry, or extraction of natural resources.
- No transit by surface or air vehicles
- No construction or use of pipelines, electric wires, or other conduit
- No dumping of waste
- No regular border crossing by humans
These are not national parks or forests open for recreation, hunting and harvesting. The Preservation proposed here is more like an extreme version of the U.S. national wilderness system, although the spirit of the wilderness law comes close to what preservation is attempting to achieve. In essence, preserve areas are totally cut off from developed human activity, sort of like the area around Chernobyl, but without the radiation. Any human activity in the preserve areas should be restricted to “natural” levels, to keep the definition simple, no use of metals, composites, or any other “advanced” materials, no engines, metal weapons, or machines. People who choose to live in the preserve areas would live there more or less permanently, at a level of civilization similar to native North Americans before the arrival of Columbus. All the intricacies of human habitation in the preserve areas will take a lot to describe, but basically, not many humans should be present in the preserves, and those who are should make minimal impact on the natural world.
Hopefully, the point of all this is obvious. Each preserve area would be an area for natural biodiversity and abundance to flourish. Hunting and fishing along the borders should be vastly more productive than in a completely civilized world. In science fiction, city-planets like Trantor and Corsucant are dependent upon other planets and faster than light travel to support their cities – clearly, Earth doesn’t have these resources. In addition to farms, forests, mines and power plants, we need our natural areas to support our cities and rural areas.
Total exclusion is an effective conservation of natural resources, simple to explain, simple to understand, simple to enforce, and effective. Anything less than total exclusion will bring about variations in interpretation over time and location as well as enormous complications in monitoring and enforcement. Nature didn’t need our help for the last million years, if we simply leave areas of the Earth alone, biodiversity and natural resources will be better off than they are under our present ‘intensive management.”