Or should we focus on the conservation values of the training areas…? Turns out there’s probably at least 50 million hectares of military training area globally – and maybe even as much a 300 million hectares – that is largely ignored when considering biodiversity conservation.
A couple of civilians, Rick and David, came up with this estimate and thought it crazy that that much area had received so little focus! Military training areas have so much to offer. The PROS; extensive distribution, they feature vegetation types that are unrepresented in the current reserve system, it’s all mostly in good condition (no clearing, etc),… The CONS; ummmmm, just some unexploded ordnance….
So looks like on balance we’re all set to 1) start documenting the biodiversity of these areas, 2) integrate conservation into land management policies of these areas, 3) call up the IUCN and get some unaffiliated leadership on these matters, and 4) pay for it (which is not a problem – you know how much conservation we can get for the smallest sliver of military budget!)
For the actual science of this story you should definitely read the paper (it’s open access) and contact the authors if you have any questions.
Zentelis R and Lindenmayer D (2015) Bombing for biodiversity—enhancing conservation values of military training areas. Conservation Letters 8: 299-305.
K!E#4 by Luke S. O’Loughlin