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

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,, 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,

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 new addition.

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.

© Copyright 2008. NatureServe.

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