Assessing Ecosystem Service Benefits from Military Installations

James Kagan | Oregon State University



The objective of this project is to seek to develop generalized conceptual models for management of military bases that will provide a transferable and consistent foundation for assessing their ecosystem service benefits. Models will be developed for selected pilot inland and coastal bases that include training requirements, land stewardship, costs, legal drivers, and coordination within and beyond installation boundaries. The research team will explore how these generalized models can be specified to the needs of other bases and form the foundation for qualitative assessments, quantitative models, and valuation. Starting with these conceptual models, researchers will evaluate and compare available methods to include cumulative effects and feedback loops, while generating quantitative outputs of what is valued by people and where possible, what those values are. When completed, the project will propose a transferable framework and design for a predictive modeling tool to incorporate ecosystem  services and benefits into decision making for most of the large military installations in the U.S.

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Technical Approach

The project will develop generalized and site‐specific causal‐chain based conceptual models (results  chains or theories of change) that incorporate outcomes and benefits relevant to base management.  These conceptual models will be built by interviewing experts who have worked on resource management at a set of example bases. These conceptual models will be compiled into a generalized model and aligned with the available data and models. Where data and models are missing, researchers will identify data that can be readily developed to provide needed outputs. When transforming these conceptual models into quantitative models, researchers will consider how to build in necessary feedbacks and cumulative effects. Existing ecosystem, ecosystem service, and econometric models as well as land management alternatives evaluation methodology and tools will be incorporated whenever possible. 

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The benefits of this research are to improve the ability of Department of Defense (DoD) staff and contractors to quantify and in some cases value the ecosystem service benefits that individual defense installations provide – and use the information on these benefits to assist in decision‐making related to stewardship and land management tradeoffs. Outputs include 1) conceptual model templates that would make understanding ecosystem services indicators and values both quicker and more comprehensive to DoD and researchers working on ecosystem services assessments; and 2) the design for a predictive modeling tool that could support decision making around resource management on and around military bases. 

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Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

James Kagan

Oregon State University

Phone: 503-725-9955

Program Manager

Resource Conservation and Resiliency