- Featured Initiatives
- Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs)
- Range Sustainment
- Installation Energy
- Cleanup Initiatives
- Munitions Response Initiatives
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The Department of Defense (DoD) conducts its training and testing activities on roughly 30 million acres of land, which encompasses a variety of ecosystems, and also operates over much broader areas of the marine environment. To accomplish these activities and maintain military readiness requires a sustainable resource base and compliance with environmental requirements. Judicious conservation of its natural and other resources enables DoD to maintain realistic training and testing environments now and into the future.
|Conservation: the careful use of a resource to prevent its depletion. The concept of conservation is not limited to a narrow view of what is meant by use. Conservation can imply resource protection when prudent management dictates such a course of action and restoration when resources have been unacceptably degraded.|
The goal is sustainable human activities, which are in the end dependent on ecosystems that maintain their ecological functions and continue to provide desired benefits or services, termed ecosystem services. For DoD, sustainability means the ability to conduct its military missions in perpetuity while being a responsible steward of the resources—natural, cultural, and built—under its care and responsibility.
In particular, SERDP and ESTCP investments assist the Department with the conservation of its natural resources. The Programs focus on those ecosystems on which the military depends to conduct its operational, training, and testing missions, but also investigate cross-cutting issues such as invasive species and the use of fire as a management tool. SERDP and ESTCP are developing and demonstrating the science, tools, and techniques needed to manage natural resources in a sustainable manner on installations and training and testing ranges. Our ongoing activities cover a broad spectrum of topics.
Defense Coastal/Estuarine Research Program
Critical military training and testing lands in coastal and estuarine areas are increasingly placed at risk because of development pressures in surrounding areas, impairments due to other anthropogenic disturbances, and requirements to comply with environmental regulations. DoD desires to enhance and sustain its training and testing assets and to optimize its stewardship and conservation of natural resources through an ecosystem-based management approach. To expand its commitment to improving military readiness while demonstrating the science behind ecosystem-based management on DoD facilities, SERDP is supporting the Defense Coastal/Estuarine Research Program (DCERP) at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. This suite of integrated, long-term research and monitoring projects supports the sustainability of military training and testing in ecologically and economically important ecosystems. Learn more about DCERP.
DoD uses and manages an extensive and diverse acreage of forested landscapes. These landscapes provide the physical backdrop against which DoD trains its personnel and tests military equipment. These forested ecosystems also provide habitat for a multitude of species and various ecosystem services. Appropriate management enables DoD to sustain its use of the land and also meet its stewardship obligations. To accomplish forest management, DoD follows the principles of ecological forestry. Learn more about ecological forestry.
Marine Mammal Ecology and Management
Improved understanding of the ecology of marine mammals is a vital prerequisite to enable the U.S. Navy to meet its operational training and testing objectives in an environmentally responsible and legal manner. Research provides regulatory agencies and the Navy with scientifically defensible information to assess, monitor, and mitigate the impacts of naval anthropogenic sound on living marine resources, including in particular marine mammals. Indeed, information derived from behavioral response studies, when combined with other information such as baseline behavioral ecology, population density estimates, habitat associations, and seasonal occurrence patterns, will provide a more complete picture of how marine mammals respond to sounds in their environment and enable the Navy to meet its mission objectives while safeguarding the individual and population health of marine mammals. Learn more about the role SERDP and ESTCP play in the study of marine mammals.
Brown Tree Snake (Boiga irregularis)
The inadvertent introduction of the brown tree snake to Guam, probably conveyed in ships that transported salvaged war material after World War II, has had far-reaching consequences. Ecologically, it has resulted in the extirpation of most of the island’s native terrestrial vertebrates. The mildly venomous snake also presents a health hazard to small children. Its economic impact ranges from electrical blackouts to delays in shipping. Because of the significant ecological and economic damage caused by the brown tree snake on Guam, as well as its impact on military missions both directly and indirectly, the potential for the snake to be spread to other Pacific Islands is of grave concern. Learn more about the role SERDP and ESTCP are playing to control brown tree snake populations and to prevent their further spread.
Prescribed burning on military lands is a critical natural resource management activity employed by DoD land managers within fire-adapted ecological systems. Prescribed burning is used to maintain and restore native ecological systems and the biotic components, including listed and at-risk species that are dependent on fire as an ecological process. Military lands also are prone to fires from training activities. These fires can be the source of complaints from surrounding landholders and communities. Learn more about the role SERDP and ESTCP play in understanding both the ecological role and air quality impacts of fire.