Modeling tool informs land use and habitat management decisions, improving both mission sustainability and conservation planning. 

 Military installations serve as the platform for meeting the Department’s national security mission. The natural resources on these installations are critical to that mission. DoD has a responsibility to the nation to preserve the species that reside on the landscape and a responsibility to sustain it for military training.

These military installations often include a range of landscapes, from patches of pristine forest, to open fields, to parcels of lands heavily impacted by use. How birds and other animals interact with these landscapes depends not only on the type of landscape and its size but also on its configuration – on the areas where these varied landscapes connect or the edges.

Dr. Thomas Sisk, Dr. Leslie Ries, and their colleagues used a fundamental understanding of different animals’ response to edges to develop a practical and user-friendly approach to managing multiple species on varied kinds of landscapes within a military site. The tool they developed combines a landscape model that links field and remotely sensed data to assess impacts of land use strategies on animal populations and an ecologically based multispecies modeling approach to threatened, endangered, and at-risk species management.

This modeling tool can be used by DoD installation managers to manage land use and habitats in a way that improves both mission sustainability and conservation planning, providing a win for both conservation and military readiness.

For this work, Dr. Sisk and Dr. Ries received a Project-of-the-Year award at the annual Partners in Environmental Technology Technical Symposium & Workshop held November 30 – December 2, 2010, in Washington, D.C.

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