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Most often used in environmental and natural resource policy discourse, natural regulation is generally understood to mean environmental conditions not directly altered by humans. Often, the term is used to contrast areas with minimal direct human influence, such as congressionally designated wilderness areas on federal lands in the United States, with directly managed areas such as commercial forest land used to produce timber for lumber and paper.

Within the context of natural resource management, natural regulation is based on the rationale that nature knows best, and will therefore achieve an ideal state if left alone. The concept is fueled by the belief that an ecosystem is in need of repair because man has used it too intensively for self-gain (or sustenance) for reasons such as logging, ...

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