Resource Conservation and Climate Change

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As one of the nation’s largest federal land managers, the Department of Defense (DoD) serves as steward of extensive natural resources. Military installations are safe havens for hundreds of listed and at-risk species. They encompass a wide variety of ecological systems that contribute to the nation’s biological diversity.

The natural and built infrastructure of installations provides the foundation for training and testing missions and overall military readiness. Troops must train as they fight, and our ranges provide the contiguous, unencumbered spaces needed to closely replicate the operational environment of assigned missions. These needs must be met in a manner that is sustainable over long time horizons, is responsive to environmental compliance and stewardship requirements, and accounts for new challenges posed by climate change and surrounding land uses.

Climate-related effects already are being observed at DoD installations in every region of the United States and its coastal waters. The direction, degree, and rate of these changes will differ by region, as will the impacts to the military’s infrastructure and capabilities. Vulnerable assets must be identified, impacts assessed, and appropriate adaptive responses determined.

SERDP and ESTCP’s Resource Conservation and Climate Change program area supports the development of the science, technologies, and methods needed to manage DoD’s installation infrastructure in a sustainable way. Areas of investment include:

  • understanding DoD-relevant ecological systems
  • assessing the impact of military training on marine mammals
  • managing threatened, endangered, and at-risk species, and invasive species
  • understanding watershed processes and management
  • developing the models and tools necessary to understand infrastructure vulnerabilities to and the impacts from climate change
  • understanding the impacts to air quality from DoD activities