DoD Biodiversity Conservation Handbook
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Chapter 1: Biodiversity and the Military Mission; By  Bruce A. Stein, Ph.D

The 1996 Biodiversity Handbook "Model Process"

1996 Handbook
The 1996 DoD biodiversity handbook.

In applying an ecosystem approach to biodiversity conservation, process is key. As recommended by the 1995 Keystone Dialogue, the first edition of this handbook was structured around a "model process," which was used as the primary means for putting the theory of ecosystem management into a practical framework for use at the installation level (Box 1.2, Figure 1.10). This model process was developed based on experience gained in applying an ecosystems approach at several installations, such as Eglin Air Force Base. It was intended to serve not as a cookbook approach to planning and management, but rather as a starting point or general blueprint, which could be customized according to the specific conditions and needs of an individual installation. Although this model process is not used as the central organizing structure of the current handbook edition, this framework still has great value, and is summarized here. For a more in-depth treatment of this planning approach, the reader should consult Leslie et al. (1996).

The primary objective of the model process was to ensure that the best information is applied to management decision-making, and secondarily, to allow managers to learn as they manage. Because no planning process is guaranteed to produce results, the following assumptions are prerequisites for success in use of this model process: (1) Compliance with the letter and spirit of federal, state, and local laws is paramount; (2) developing a working understanding of the structure, composition, and function of the regional and installation ecosystems is essential; (3) maintaining the integrity and resiliency of natural systems (that is, maintaining representative and functional ecosystems) is in the best interest of the military mission; (4) no one manager or set of resources managers has all of the information and training necessary to make the correct decisions all of the time; (5) thus, involvement of outside scientists and managers is necessary and essential to success and acceptance; (6) stakeholder values and needs are important and help drive the process; (7) being proactive is preferable to being reactive; and lastly, (8) decision-makers must be willing to make fundamental changes when necessary.

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Bruce A. Stein Ph.D is Vice President and Chief Scientist, NatureServe.

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