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Warfare Ecology also includes reprints of several classical papers that set the stage for the new synthesis described by the authors. Written for environmental scientists, military and humanitarian relief professionals, conservation managers, and graduate students in a wide range of fields, Warfare Ecology is a major step forward in understanding the relationship between war and ecological systems.


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JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser. Life Sciences Ecology. Buy eBook. Buy Hardcover. Buy Softcover. The driving forces are anthropogenic; hence, warfare ecology must necessarily be interdisciplinary and treat biophysical and socioeconomic systems as highly coupled systems.

Ecological studies related to warfare date to the origins of ecosystem ecology in the s; British botanists documented plant invasions in London's rubble during the Battle of Britain Davis Warfare technologies have historically influenced ecological research. Bomb tests at the Bikini and Eniwetok atolls were followed by advances in marine ecology. Eugene Odum's long-term ecosystems research began in at the Savannah River Plant, built for nuclear weapons production Golley Here we identify representative empirical studies at the landscape, regional, and global scales, organized within the stages of warfare.

Such studies demonstrate the current status and potential scope of warfare ecology. Landscape-scale studies of warfare preparations have examined the ecological impacts of military training. Truck, tank, and heavy-vehicle exercises have long-term effects; greater soil compaction and altered flora in tank tracks were documented 55 years after World War II training maneuvers Prose and Wilshire Tracked-vehicle training can interact with other land uses such as grazing to create complex successional patterns Guretzky et al.

Live-fire training often leads to the accumulation of pollutants; white phosphorus a common illuminant found at artillery impact areas has been linked to mortality and reduced fertility in waterfowl and to secondary poisoning of raptors Sparling and Federoff , Sparling et al.


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Training areas and surrounding buffer zones can protect key habitats and harbor significant biodiversity. Camp Pendleton, California, includes 27 km of undeveloped shoreline and more than species of plants and animals, including 18 threatened or endangered species USMC Training activities may contribute to high biodiversity on military lands by creating disturbance heterogeneity Warren et al. The effects of training activity on wildlife appear to be case specific.

Investigations of mass whale strandings during naval exercises in the Bahamas and the Canary Islands suggest that high-intensity sonar can cause erratic behavior, internal tissue damage, and mortality in cetaceans Schrope , Jepson et al.

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By contrast, low-flying military aircraft had little or no behavioral impact on Sonoran pronghorn Antilocapra americana sonoriensis or desert mountain sheep Ovis canadensis nelsoni Krausman et al. Vertebrate, ant, and spider assemblages were unaffected by armored personnel carrier exercises in northeastern Australia Woinarski and Ash , Woinarski et al. Regional- and global-scale research on warfare preparations includes studies of nuclear weapons testing and manufacture. Long-term monitoring at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation found windborne radionuclides in plants and animals more than km from the production site; waterborne radio active particles discharged from the reservation into the Columbia River appeared in coastal shellfish more than km downstream Gerber Reflecting the coupled-systems character of warfare ecology, analysis of human populations downwind from the Nevada Proving Ground suggests a link between atmospheric weapons testing and increases in childhood leukemia Stevens et al.

The effects of such low-level radioactivity are equivocal Brenner et al. Landscape-scale research has documented immediate battlefield effects as well as indirect impacts of war across landscapes. Water-filled bomb craters from the Battle of Britain were rapidly colonized by nearly 40 species of native plants and invertebrates Warwick Along the heavily bombed Ho Chi Minh Trail in Vietnam, herpetology surveys reported six species of frogs inhabiting ponded craters, as well as sufficient numbers of small fish, eels, and prawns to support a local fishery Stuart and Davidson Other wartime impacts are more destructive.

Following tactical oil spills released during the first Gulf War, wildlife biologists documented high seabird mortality and pollution of tide flats important for migratory shorebirds Evans et al. The Rwandan civil war and genocide led to increased poaching and more than km 2 of deforestation near refugee camps in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo Biswas and Tortajada-Quiroz , McNeely After a decade of war and social unrest in the region, aerial surveys of Congo's Virunga National Park found hippopotami from a population that once exceeded 30, animals Muir At a regional scale, fisheries biologists have documented rebounds in North Atlantic plaice Pleuronectes platessa populations after widespread declines in commercial fishing during World Wars I and II Smith A study of Atlantic glacier lanternfish Benthosema glaciale found peak mercury contamination during World War II coincident with weapons deployment and wartime industrial output in Europe and North America Martins et al.

In the northern Sahara, meteorological records show a tenfold increase in dust storms during the period when World War II military campaigns disturbed fragile desert vegetation and soils Oliver Globally, wars can both be influenced by ecological factors and exert a substantive influence on biological systems McNeely Analysis of high-resolution paleoclimatic data, paired with historical data on warfare from through , suggests substantial correlation between temperature change and war frequency Zhang et al.

A collaboration by researchers from 10 countries concluded that current environmental change and resource scarcities are contributing to violent conflicts, particularly in developing countries; they predict an increase in conflicts related to growing shortages of water, forest resources, fisheries, and arable land Homer-Dixon The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted increased competition for declining water resources, reduced food security, and potential population migrations—all sources of violent conflict IPCC Nuclear proliferation raises the possibility of even more far-reaching effects.

At the landscape scale, most postwar ecological research has focused on cleanup methods, outcomes, and the potential for converting military sites to other uses.

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Surveys of the Korean Peninsula Demilitarized Zone DMZ document dozens of rare species and habitats, with a large tract proposed as a permanent transborder reserve Kim Toxic and hazardous wastes often complicate the future of military sites. An analysis of cleanup efforts in post-Soviet Estonia noted heavy metals, contaminated groundwater, and radioactive waste at former Soviet Army installations Auer and Raukas Postwar restoration can also include the reversal of tactical impacts. Saddam Hussein's military drained the Mesopotamian marshes of southern Iraq to destabilize the Marsh Arab community; a recent study found native plants and animals recolonizing newly reflooded areas with potential for recovery Richardson et al.

Indirect impacts may also arise during the postwar period. Following World War II, shipments of surplus equipment to US bases on Guam introduced the brown tree snake Boiga irregularis to the island, where its spread has been linked to the extirpation of more than 10 native bird and reptile species Fritts and Rodda Regional-scale studies have examined postwar environmental and health effects of wartime actions.

Following the Vietnam War, researchers documented soil erosion, altered faunal communities, and the permanent loss of forest and mangrove cover in areas exposed to herbicides Westing Defoliants affected Vietnamese civilians through altered settlement and agricultural patterns, chronic gastrointestinal problems, liver damage, and birth defects Westing ; the results of long-term studies of US servicemen suggest links between defoliant exposure and diabetes, as well as several types of cancer Stone Fifteen years after the Iran—Iraq War, civilians exposed to chemical attacks showed high rates of chronic anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder Hashemian et al.

Our review suggests a broad scope of inquiry for warfare ecology; table 2 summarizes representative variables of interest. Previous commentaries have called for a concerted research effort Gleditsch , Leaning , Jarrett , Tucker and Russell We agree and suggest several key research needs that can guide the development of warfare ecology.

Similar to subfields such as conservation biology and restoration ecology, warfare ecology requires robust theoretical frameworks that encompass coupled biophysical and socioeconomic systems. The distinctive characteristics of warfare ecology emerge from the deliberateness often to deprive enemies of advantage , destructiveness, and intensity of ecological and socioeconomic perturbations brought on by warfare. Although coupled systems frameworks exist or are under development see, for example, Machlis et al.

Case studies could provide in-depth environmental accounting and ecological analysis of an individual war through its three stages.

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An example would be the protracted preparations for the Falklands War; the war itself involving naval, amphibious, and air assault on the isolated archipelago ; and the postwar recovery, linking remnant land mines, increasing wildlife, and an emerging ecotourism economy Royle Population analyses might test hypotheses concerning the occurrence, type, and magnitude of warfare impacts on biodiversity, using a sample of wars, bio-diversity hotspots, and sociopolitical regions. The cascading effects of warfare are crucial and complex. Weapons testing may result in energy releases that radically restructure ecosystems, and wartime destruction of cities may spur postwar reconstruction that in turn intensifies urbanization.

Land mines lead to contamination and injury, which may alter land-use patterns. Refugee movements may lead to subsistence needs that concentrate deforestation. Military expenditures may preclude spending for needed environmental management, leading to a decline in ecosystem services that further intensifies resource conflicts.