SYMP 20 - Warfare Ecology: Impacts of Conflict on Environmental Security and Stewardship

Thursday, August 11, 2011: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Ballroom G, Austin Convention Center
Organizer: Clifford Duke
Co-organizers: Elvia Meléndez and James Porter
Moderator: Clifford Duke
Warfare – including preparation and training of military forces, active conflict, and postwar activities -- is a dominant feature of the human landscape. The direct human consequences of war are highly visible, the ecological consequences often less so, although occasionally highlighted in photographs of burning oil fields or shell-cratered jungles. But war considered in all its aspects, including for example both military training and post-conflict reconstruction, presents us not only with adverse ecological consequences, but with opportunities and responsibilities for ecological conservation and restoration. Further, conflicts over natural resources are often factors contributing to the origins of wars. In the past two decades, there have been 122 armed conflicts, and war preparations utilize up to 15 million square kilometers of land (Machlis and Hanson 2008, BioScience 58: 729-736). The interactions between warfare and ecosystems are complex, with conflicts over access to natural resources contributing to war, which in turn leads to widespread environmental damage, with further adverse impacts on human demands for ecological services. As a critical element in constructing a truly globally sustainable society, it is imperative that the scientific community develop a well-organized understanding of the environmental origins and consequences of armed conflict, and apply this knowledge in ways that support peace, security, and sustainability. This symposium responds to this need by exploring an emerging sub-field of study called “warfare ecology” (Machlis and Hanson 2008). A series of speakers will explain the core issues; present case study examples of the applications and opportunities for ecological research in military training areas and conflict zones; and summarize policy implications and education needs. The symposium will close with an open discussion of issues raised and potential future ESA activities in this important area of research.
Science Committee
1:30 PM
Warfare ecology: An introduction
Gary Machlis, University of Idaho
1:50 PM
Warfare ecology: Lessons from Afghanistan
Peter D. Smallwood, University of Richmond
2:10 PM
Sea-dumped munitions: A general problem and a case study on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico
James W. Porter, University of Georgia; James V. Barton, Underwater Ordnance Recovery, Inc.
2:50 PM
3:20 PM
The fishy and untold stories of bomb-cratered coral reefs in Culebra Island, Puerto Rico: From social injustice and massive destruction, to community-based ecological rehabilitation
Edwin A. Hernandez-Delgado, University of Puerto Rico; Julio Oms-Hernandez, U.S. Geological Survey; Alejandra H. Alvarado-Alvarado, University of Puerto Rico; Raisa Hernandez-Pacheco, University of Puerto Rico; Alex Mercado-Molina, University of Puerto Rico; Samuel Suleiman-Ramos, Sociedad Ambiente Marino; Mary Ann Lucking, CORALations, Inc.
3:40 PM
Professional training and graduate education needs for warfare ecology
Elvia Meléndez, Institute for Tropical Ecosystem Studies (ITES)
4:00 PM
Policy implications of warfare ecology
P. H. Liotta, United States Military Academy
4:20 PM
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