DoD Biodiversity Conservation Handbook
Chapters:Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10Chapter 11IntroductionCase StudiesAcknowledgements
Chapter 5: Balancing Biodiversity Conservation With Multiple Uses

Special Natural Areas

Unfortunately, ORV use and vandalism are common on the lands of the Pike National Forest adjacent to the Air Force Academy's Farish Recreation Area. Controlling these highly negative impacts of recreation is a vital function of military natural resources managers. (Photo: Douglas Ripley)

Areas on DoD installations with natural resources that warrant special conservation efforts may be designated as special natural areas (DoDI 1996). These are recognized for their unique or exceptional natural resources or cultural qualities and attributes. In most cases management is directed at preservation and/or protection of the area with very specific management objectives. However, special natural area designations on military lands can not be set aside as permanent environmental preserves due to DoD's requirement to maintain flexibility to adapt the defense mission to political and technological developments (DoD Inst. 4715.3, para. F.1.i(4); refer to Appendix B). Even though an installation is precluded from establishing permanent environmental preserves, these special natural areas can make a significant contribution to conservation of regionally important natural resources.

Conflicting management objectives and threats to the ecological integrity of the habitat such as invasive species and encroachment can directly impact the biodiversity

A Special Natural Area
Fort Belvoir, Virginia, has designated three special natural areas: the 1,360-acre Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge; the Accotink Creek Riparian Area; and part of the upland plateau of the South Post training area. The primary management goal for these significant natural areas is conservation and biodiversity. Low-intensity military training and testing, as well as lowintensity recreation, environmental education, scientific research and study can be conducted within the special natural areas as long as access and use are compatible with resources conservation.
of the special natural areas. Developing biodiversity management and invasive species management plans will complement management measures specific to these special natural areas, and can be incorporated in the installation's inrmp. Similarly, damage to cultural resources should be avoided through development of strategic planning which is incorporated into the installation Integrated Cultural Resources Management Plan (ICRMP). And both the INRMP and ICRMP should be reviewed and integrated to ensure that management of these resource categories is at best, beneficial, and at least not damaging.

Proceed to Next Section: Military Training and Testing Lands

© Copyright 2008. NatureServe.

Sections In This Chapter

View Related Case Studies

About This Chapter's Author
Dorothy M. Gibb is the Technical Director at A.H. Environmental Consultants.

Joseph S. Ferris is the Principal Environmental Consultant at Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Literature Cited
Click here to view literature cited in this chapter.

View this Chapter in PDF Format
Click here to download Chapter 5 as a PDF.

NatureServe DoD