This new edition of the Department of Defense (DoD) biodiversity conservation
guide has two principal aims. First, it endeavors to present
an updated overview of the subject of biological diversity on DoD
lands, one that includes discussions of current scientific thought and
that reflects the many new issues confronting the DoD natural resources manager.
Second, via a supporting website, www.DoDbiodiversity.org, it aims to provide a
forum for military natural resources managers to discuss biodiversity conservation
and offer suggestions and ideas for biodiversity enhancement programs.
This 2008 edition is a fully revised and updated successor to the original publication,
Conserving Biodiversity on Military Lands: A Handbook for Natural Resources
Managers, which was prepared by The Nature Conservancy for the DoD
in 1996 based on the results of a yearlong dialogue conducted by the Keystone
Center. In that effort, experts from the military, academia, private environmental
organizations, and other federal and state land management agencies were
brought together in a series of workshops to discuss strategies for enhancing biological
diversity on military lands. The resulting handbook proved to be an unprecedented
success. Over five thousand copies were distributed, and it was
adopted as a textbook in three major universities. It has served as a useful reference
for many DoD conservation undertakings and remains the only document of
its kind prepared by a federal land management agency.
The DoD Legacy Resource Management Program supported the development
of this new edition through funding provided to NatureServe. To assess the needs
of military natural resources managers, in February 2006 NatureServe conducted
a two-day workshop at Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee, in which key managers
from across the country met with scientific and management experts from NatureServe
and The Nature Conservancy to develop a detailed outline for the new
guide. Other DoD staff were either interviewed personally or asked to participate
in an online survey. Military natural resources managers, both at the installation
and headquarters levels, prepared many of the chapters. Others, including Chapter
1 (Biodiversity and the Military Mission) and Chapter 2 (Understanding Conservation
Science) were authored by respected scientists with long associations
with DoD environmental programs. A highly experienced science writer authored
the remaining chapters.
One of the main requests from workshop participants and the interviewees was
the need for the guide content to be concise, interactive, and updatable. We have
responded to this need in two ways. First, the guide is available as an interactive
pdf file, rather than merely in print. Second, all content is available through the
dedicated website, www.DoDbiodiversity.org.
A new feature is the inclusion of numerous case studies prepared by military
natural resources managers that highlight the successful accomplishments of specific
biodiversity conservation projects on their installations. The website allows
us to add new case studies periodically, as well as to make additions or changes
to the basic text material as needed.
This edition retains and expands the "Toolbox" section of the original handbook,
but transfers it to the website, where the ability to update sources should
make the Toolbox much more useful than in the original. Finally, the website's
interactive “Forum” section in which readers may post questions, comments, or
other observations on biodiversity conservation will hopefully prove to be a valuable
We are confident that this guide will support DoD natural resources managers
by providing guidance for implementing biodiversity conservation strategies at
the installation level. In addition, it will serve as a valuable tool to inform DoD
stakeholders and leadership about the critical need to maintain natural resources
in order to successfully meet the military function of DoD lands.