The objective of this project is to demonstrate the application and value of an Ecosystem Services Decision Support Tool for military installations, which combines a decision support system framework and geospatial ecosystem services analytical tool. The tool is designed to enable military facility and land managers to make informed decisions regarding ecosystem services trade-offs in land management while supporting mission and stewardship goals. The tool will be demonstrated at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; Cape Canaveral Air Force Station / Patrick Air Force Base, Florida; and Fort Pickett, Virginia.
The tool applies biophysical analysis and scientific knowledge regarding ecological production functions to give decision makers the ability to distinguish between management scenarios in terms of gains and losses to ecological endpoints. Implementation of the tool relies on communication with installation decision makers and stakeholders to elicit mission objectives, definition of the ecosystem services of interest, community priorities relative to these ecosystem services on the installation, and installation stewardship priorities. Geospatial and scientifically vetted models are used to evaluate habitats by ranking them relative to other habitats on the installation and to the larger geographic area. The tool includes a user interface to enable sensitivity analysis of key input variables such as preference weighting. A menu of changes presents the decision maker with trade-offs. The ecological outcomes are expressed as endpoints, providing decision makers with information to make judgments about the trade-offs.
The Ecosystem Services Decision Support Tool will enable consideration of ecosystem service flows in land management decisions concerning mission support and stewardship; frame ecosystem services that affect missions, not just on the installation but in the surrounding areas of the landscape that produce encroachment pressures; enable analysis of the military mission relative to the surrounding community and region; and inventory areas that could be characterized for active military missions, buffers from encroaching areas, and corridors within the installation. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2014)