Central to ALWRI's purpose is the conservation of wilderness areas, both within the U.S. National Wilderness Preservation System and internationally within the IUCN Category Ib designation. The Institute's establishment was rooted in the intention to serve as a model for integrated research and management, fostering a deeper understanding of the multifaceted significance of wilderness and wildlands across social, cultural, and ecological dimensions. ALWRI’s foundational charter (1993) identified a mission of “providing national and international coordination and integration of the wide variety of wilderness and wilderness-related ecosystems research and management efforts.” Our most recent charter (2022), recommits to an international portfolio of work, stating that “international collaboration with scientists and managers [and other wildlands stewards] will remain an important part of the Leopold Institute’s programs.”
The Institute's international portfolio supports conservation efforts and wilderness research on a global scale. That is, through partnerships, collaborations, and knowledge-sharing initiatives, the Institute extends its expertise beyond national borders. Our programs foster cross-cultural understanding of wilderness, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable practices, among other benefits and needs of wilderness. By engaging with diverse communities, ecosystems, and themes around the world, ALWRI contributes to the preservation of natural and cultural landscapes for present and future generations.
ALWRI staff have been long-time contributors to the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Wilderness Specialist Group. Also for many decades, we have been co-organizers of the World Wilderness Congress and it’s science symposium (in 2024 to be titled the Symposium on Knowledge, Wisdom, and Ways of Knowing). Additionally, we have hosted international scholars, Fellows, and students from over twenty countries; planned, conducted, and engaged on research with collaborators from across the globe; and made site visits to advise on science and wilderness stewardship in many places around the world.
We welcome opportunities to share knowledge or work with international collaborators. Whether it’s for a few hours, a few days, a few months, or longer, our staff (insert link to staff page) is eager to discuss opportunities for collaboration or visits.