The Wilderness Institute

The mission of the The Wilderness Institute is to further the understanding of wilderness and wild lands stewardship through education, research and service.

Housed within the University of Montana's W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, the Wilderness Institute provides students, agencies, and the general public with information, educational programs and resources, and technical tools to understand public lands conservation, land stewardship, protected areas management, and the social and ecological values of wilderness.

tree charred by fire

Fire Suppression Makes Wildfires More Severe

WI PhD Candidate Mark Kreider and co-authors published findings that fighting every wildfire ensures that fires​ are more extreme, and may harm forests’ ability to adapt to climate change. Managing wildfires to safely burn under low and moderate conditions is thus a critical tool to address the growing wildfire crisis.

Students sitting on a rock writing reflections

Accepting Applications: 2024 Wilderness and Civilization Program!

Now accepting applications for Fall 2024 until the program fills, usually by mid-April. Apply today to ensure a spot in this innovative educational experience! It is the only program in Montana where students can earn a Wilderness Studies Minor.

forest biodiversity

Latitudinal patterns in stabilizing density dependence of forest communities

Our Director, Andrew Larson, collaborated with a team of 52 scientists to analyze global forest data across latitudes. They discovered that trees face higher mortality rates when surrounded by neighbors of the same species, likely due to specialized pathogens or herbivores. Read the full Nature article here.