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Über dieses Buch

The purpose of this book is specific and ambitious: to outline the distinctive elements, scope, and usefulness of a new and emerging field of applied ecology named warfare ecology. Based on a NATO Advanced Research Workshop held on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, the book provides both a theoretical overview of this new field and case studies that range from mercury contamination during World War I in Slovenia to the ecosystem impacts of the Palestinian occupation, and from the bombing of coral reefs of Vieques to biodiversity loss due to violent conflicts in Africa. 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.



Introduction: A New Synthesis

As the violent twentieth century recedes into history and the twenty-first century begins its second decade, war – and its costs and consequences – remain a central feature of Homo sapiens’ relationship to the environment. Worldwide, military expenditures surged to an all-time high in 2009 [19], despite a deep global recession and a drop in the number of active conflicts [5]. Though analysts had predicted substantial peace dividends following the end of the Cold War, this new peak capped a long and steady trend. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, global military spending rose nearly 50% [19]. When researchers ask what the world is arming for, one dominant thread makes the subject of this book both timely and urgent.
Gary E. Machlis, Thor Hanson, Zdravko Špirić, Jean E. McKendry



Environmental Consequences of the Second Indochina War: A Case Study

Anti-plant warfare should become an important concern of conservationists, advises the author, whose reports from the Second Indochina War in South Vietnam revealed the extent of the ecological damage done to this area for military purposes. He writes: “The ecological lessons to be learned from the military tactics employed by the US in South Vietnam … are: 1) that the vegetation can be severely damaged or even destroyed with relative ease over extensive areas, 2) that natural, agricultural, and industrial-crop plant communities are all similarly vulnerable, and 3) that the ecological impact of such actions is likely to be of long duration”.
Arthur H Westing

Environmental Change and Violent Conflict

Growing scarcities of renewable resources can contribute to social instability and civil strife
Within the next 50 years, the human population is likely to exceed nine billion, and global economic output may quintuple. Largely as a result of these two trends, scarcities of renewable resources may increase sharply. The total area of highly productive agricultural land will drop, as will the extent of forests and the number of species they sustain. Future generations will also experience the ongoing depletion and degradation of aquifers, rivers and other bodies of water, the decline of fisheries, further stratospheric ozone loss and, perhaps, significant climatic change.
Thomas F. Homer-Dixon, Jeffrey H. Boutwell, George W. Rathjens

Resource Competition and World Politics in the Twenty-First Century

Competition and conflict over access to major sources of valuable and essential materials—water, land, gold, gems, spices, and timber—have long been a significant feature of international affairs. The initial outward burst of European exploration in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was largely driven by the quest for precious resources, as was the period of colonization that followed. The onset of industrialization in the nineteenth century sparked another worldwide race for vital materials, culminating in the global pursuit of petroleum. Only with the outbreak of the cold war at the end of World War II did resource issues lose their preeminent role as the strategic and ideological concerns of the superpowers occupying center stage. Now, with the cold war over and a new era beginning, resource competition will again play a critical role in world affairs.
Michael T. Klare

Warfare Ecology

Among human activities causing ecological change, war is both intensive and far-reaching. Yet environmental research related to warfare is limited in depth and fragmented by discipline. Here we (1) outline a field of study called “warfare ecology,” (2) provide a taxonomy of warfare useful for organizing the field, (3) review empirical studies, and (4) propose research directions and policy implications that emerge from the ecological study of warfare. Warfare ecology extends to the three stages of warfare—preparations, war, and postwar activities—and treats biophysical and socioeconomic systems as coupled systems. A review of empirical studies suggests complex relationships between warfare and ecosystem change. Research needs include the development of theory and methods for examining the cascading effects of warfare on specific ecosystems. Policy implications include greater incorporation of ecological science into military planning and improved rehabilitation of postwar ecosystem services, leading to increased peace and security.
Gary E. Machlis, Thor Hanson



Climate Change, Natural Resources, and Conflict: A Contribution to the Ecology of Warfare

Climate change is increasingly recognized as a potential threat to national security. Climate change does not cause war by itself, but can have significant effects on the ecological basis of societies and thereby lead to instability and unpredictability, which can in turn lead to war. History is replete with episodes of climate change that have led to violent conflict, even the fall of civilizations. This paper identifies climate-related conflicts over natural resources that take place at a local or regional scale and primarily in developing countries. The focus is on the likelihood of increasing conflict between pastoralists and farmers, especially in parts of the world that contain important biological resources. Conflict in such regions can affect food supplies at a time when one billion people already are undernourished. The impacts of climate change are felt by people primarily through impacts on ecosystems. For example, climate change can affect agriculture through three main ecological impacts: changing patterns of rainfall, increasing numbers of extreme climate events, and increasing temperature changing distribution of land productivity. Improving security requires a broader approach to adapting to climate change, drawing on international law and support from climate change adaptation funds.
Jeffrey A. McNeely

Ecological Impacts of Large–Scale War Preparations: Semipalatinsk Test Site, Kazakhstan

Development and testing of weapons of mass destruction may result in irreversible environmental changes resulting in high social risk and negative effects on human health. The former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site (STS) is a sorrowful monument of the Cold War. Nuclear tests at STS inflicted numerous economic, social and ecological problems on Kazakhstan. In the framework of the NATO “Science for Peace Program,” about 1,400 km2 of the STS have been investigated. According to the results of the Semirad project, the most contaminated area of the southeastern part of the STS is two craters, Telkem-1 and Telkem-2, formed by nuclear explosions. These craters are contaminated with the fission products, cesium-137 and strontium-90, and with components of nuclear fuel, plutonium-239 and americium-241, and the activation product, europium-154. The considerable migration of radionuclides in the 40 years since the tests were conducted was not detected. The calculated effective dose for adults from radionuclides at the Telkem craters is approximately 7 mSv. In the northern part of the STS (Semirad 2 project) the most contaminated sites are located close to the area of radiological dispersion device tests. Annual effective doses from plutonium-239 and strontium-90 can reach over 8 mSv. There is no possibility to detect the dose, largely from micron-sized “hot particles” of high radioactivity spread across the STS territory. The STS is a unique scientific preserve where scientists from all over the world are welcome to conduct research. The Republic of Kazakhstan abandoned its nuclear arsenal and opened the path to the international community to a world free of nuclear weapons.
Mukhambetkali Burkitbayev, Nicholas Priest, Peter Mitchell, Leon Vintro, Laurent Pourcelot, Yelena Kuyanova, Oleg Artemyev

Ecological, Radiological, and Toxicological Effects of Naval Bombardment on the Coral Reefs of Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico

Between 1943 and 2003, land and sea areas on the eastern end of Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico were used as a naval gunnery and bombing range. Viequean coral reefs are littered with leaking and unexploded ordnance (UXO). Radiological, biological, and chemical surveys were conducted to assay the health of these coral reefs.
Biotic surveys revealed a statistically significant inverse correlation between the density of military ordnance and several measures of coral reef health, including (a) the number of coral species (  p =  0.007), (b) the number of coral colonies (  p =  0.02), and (c) coral species diversity (H′) (  p =  0.0005). Reefs with the highest concentrations of bombs and bomb fragments have the lowest health indices.
Water, sediment, and biotic samples revealed that: (a) every animal tested on the seaward reef of Vieques near unexploded ordnance contained at least one potentially toxic compound leaking fromin situordnance [1,3,5-Trinitrobenzene; 1,3-Dinitrobenzene; 2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene; 2,4-Dinitrotoluene  +  2,6-Dinitrotoluene; 4-Nitrotoluene; 2-Nitrotoluene; Hexahydro-1,3,5-Trinitro-1,3,5-Triazine]; (b) concentrations of these substances in fish and lobster tested do not exceed EPA’s Risk Based Concentrations for commercially edible seafood, but (c) concentrations of these substances in several of the non-commercial species tested (e.g. feather duster worms, corals, and sea urchins) greatly exceed these concentrations. For chromium in sediments, and for TNT in both water and sediment, there is an exponential decline with increasing distance from unexploded ordnance. An organism’s mobility and proximity to UXO determine its body burden of toxic compounds: (1) the closer an organism is to a leaking bomb, the higher its body burden will be, and (2) the less mobile (and therefore more sessile) an organism is, the higher the concentration of toxic substances will be.
Our data show unequivocally that toxic substances leaching from UXO have entered the coral reef marine food web. Since the concentration of explosive compounds is highest near unexploded ordnance, we recommend that surface UXO on the Vieques coral reef be picked up and removed. We assert that this action will have an immediate and beneficial effect on the coral reef ecosystem by removing these point sources of pollution from the environment. Existing technology can perform this required action easily.
James W. Porter, James V. Barton, Cecilia Torres



War and Biodiversity Conservation: The Role of Warfare Ecology

The environmental impacts of war are widely recognized but poorly understood, leading to calls for a dedicated subfield known as warfare ecology. Recent research establishes the relevance of warfare ecology to biodiversity conservation. Studies show that war is exceedingly prevalent in the world’s most biodiverse regions and that both overt and secondary impacts of conflict can be well documented. Additionally, specific conservation strategies for war-torn areas have been shown to reduce negative impacts to wildlife and habitat. Warfare ecology offers integrated models that can help predict the occurrence and cascading effects of war in biodiversity hotspots, as well as integrated research, education, and publication opportunities to advance policy goals. Priorities include incorporating conservation issues into military, relief, and reconstruction planning, as well as research to elucidate complex links between recurring conflicts, ecosystems, and the biological diversity they sustain.
Thor Hanson

A Public Health Approach to Warfare

The field of public health aims to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of human populations. Warfare poses threats to human beings in many ways that the public health approach can help define and track through time. The impact of war on civilians is a particular feature of concern to public health experts, who have in recent years contributed to our general understanding of civilian morbidity and mortality in war by documenting numbers of people affected, describing patterns of morbidity and mortality, and identifying vulnerable risk groups. Among the particular technologies of warfare that are pervasively harmful to civilian populations, public health investigators have been especially concerned with the short and longer-term consequences of antipersonnel landmines and other explosive remnants of war. Yet despite the evidence, which public health methods have helped to accumulate, that warfare constitutes a devastating assault on human life, the field of public health has also been influenced in positive ways by military activity and experience. Advances in science (including technology), law, and social mobilization have been incorporated into public health practice and analytic frameworks. Public health strategies of prevention and mitigation are influenced by these advances and in turn offer options for policy engagement with all phases of warfare that might help to reduce the most severe impacts of war on civilian populations.
Jennifer Leaning

The Application of Warfare Ecology to Belligerent Occupations

Insofar as warfare ecology aims to examine all war-related conditions, belligerent occupations are a necessary stage in its broad taxonomy. Under international law, belligerent occupations are covered by a distinctive subset of jus in bello (humanitarian law), which is imprecise regarding ecological changes. This chapter examines the potential role of warfare ecology in studying belligerent occupations, highlighting the multiple, often indirect, means by which such occupations shape eco­lo­gical processes. Particular attention is paid to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, due to its protracted duration, although also discussed are environmental effects associated with the US and UK occupation of Iraq. The onus on the occupying power, under international humanitarian law, to protect the conditions of life for civilians can plausibly be applied to the environmental resources of the resident population. It is argued that warfare ecology can make a significant contribution both to assessing the effects of occupations and, through the generation of policy advice, to promote conflict outcomes more sensitive towards ecological processes.
Michael Mason



Restoration and Reconstruction for Environmental Security

The context of the geography of place and the notion of landscape as a cultural practice in creating and supporting a sense of identity are paramount to understanding destruction and reconstruction. According to cultural geography theory, people experience reflexive relationships with their important places. The relationship between people and their lived-in environment can be negatively affected during armed conflict, especially when important places are intentionally targeted and destroyed through the strategy of identicide. Reconstruction methods employed by the international community have focused on rebuilding a pre-conflict status quo. Yet, when identicide is used to disrupt the relationship between people and their places, reconstructing a pre-war status quo may only reinforce the patho­logies of nationalism and interests in ethnic homogeneity. If reconstruction theory, policy and practice can address the reflexive relationship between people and their places, case studies suggest a more positive outcome for long-term peace and security in conflict-affected regions. This paper links concepts of landscape and geography to the study of contemporary armed conflict and explores the practical application of new methods of reconstruction in war-torn societies.
Sarah Jane Meharg

Environmental Biomonitoring as a Tool in Risk and Impact Assessment Associated with Post-Conflict Restoration and Rehabilitation

To understand and monitor the ecosystem responses to various contaminant loadings related to military operations in peace and war requires an integrated approach employing a network of indicators. The case study presented here is related to mercury loading in an area impacted by the First Word War and mercury mining activities. It is known that a set of indicators can be used as a measure of changing mercury concentrations in the environment over a long period of time. The major objectives of several studies implemented in Slovenia was to search for the best indicators of changes in mercury loading in air, the catchment and coastal waters, and the terrestrial environment. One of the important conclusions of these studies is that environmental biomonitoring, including human biomonitoring, offers a convenient and cost-effective way to assess spatial and temporal trends of mercury pollution and represents a good measure of mercury reactivity and availability in the environment. It can also be used as an early warning system for humans and other organisms in this ecosystem. Therefore, further efforts should be spent on standardization of the methodologies so that biomonitoring can widely be applied and the international comparability of data secured.
Milena Horvat

Stability and Sustainability in Peace Building: Priority Area for Warfare Ecology

The chapter aims to highlight the importance of efficient management of the environment in providing stable and sustainable peace to a post-conflict society. An attempt has been made to give selected cases where sustainable economic development is neglected and short-term, situational development is favored in post-conflict peacebuilding systems. The negative outcome of this approach has been the pollution of the environment, and also, in some instances creating further conflicts and insecurity in the society. In order to avoid these negative consequences, three policy recommendations – good governance, inter-state cooperation and early warning systems – have been elaborated for how to address and successfully overcome the environmental threats to sustainable peace – hence, how sustained stability can be brought into post-conflict systems.
Ashok Swain, Florian Krampe

Territory Spoiled by Blasting Mines – A Croatian Case Study

The transition from active combat to the post-conflict period does not mean a simultaneous end of danger to society (human life/health) and the environment. Unfortunately, a large number of risks and threats remain, particularly landmines. The use of mines near facilities for oil and gas production is a huge challenge with unpredictable and unforeseen consequences. Potential damages and losses from the destruction of production facilities and pipelines by mine explosions could be enormous. This paper discusses warfare ecology policy implications for peace and security during oil and gas production from a territory spoiled by blasting mines in Croatia in the areas of combat operations during the Homeland War (1991–1995).
Zdravko Špirić, Tvrtko Grgić

Advancing the Field of Warfare Ecology


The Certain Uncertainty: The Political Ecology of Environmental Security

Aligning with the effort to establish warfare ecology as a disciplined bridge to advance ecological science to inform policy decisions and implementation and offset negative environmental consequences, this chapter suggests linking two propositions. The first is that the praxis of security should be understood as extreme efforts within a state’s larger management of uncertainty about the future. By focusing on a motivation for government action rather than a locus of bureaucratic activity, such an approach may open the possibility for a more nuanced discussion about the idea of security. Within this wider frame, it is possible to recognize relationships among sources of uncertainty and alternative responses. Further, there is the conceptual flexibility for issues to be escalated when great uncertainty is identified and de-escalated as the means to address an uncertainty are developed and incorporated into normal routines of public administration. The second proposition is that the planning, design, and use of the environment are fundamental aspects of a state’s response to uncertainty and vulnerability. We examine military lands and their surrounding regions as sites where the management of multiple uncertainties are negotiated for the needs of national defense and ecological sustainability. Equally, for military operations themselves, we also give brief consideration to the environments where military forces are adapting themselves for future engagements and their implications for warfare ecology.
Peter H. Liotta, Allan W. Shearer

Application of the Human Ecosystem Model in Warfare Ecology

Warfare affects coupled human-natural systems. The relative effects and their distribution depend upon a variety of pre-existing conditions; specific activities prior to, during, and after violent conflict; and the scales of these activities over time and space. Warfare implies not only intended consequences, but also unintended ones, and both negative and positive outcomes. Social ecological models provide systematic means by which differential effects can be measured, mapped, and predicted. Strand-by-strand analyses of whole-system effects on different populations and ecosystems are possible. Pre-existing conditions in biophysical resources, socioeconomic resources, and cultural resources influence not only what are defined as potentially contested territory and targets for violence, but also post-war outcomes. This paper describes the application of one social ecological model, the Human Ecosystem Model, to preparation for war, violent conflict, and post-war activities; and presents means by which social ecological models can improve understanding of the coupled human-natural systems outcomes of war.
Shawn E. Dalton

Professional Training and Graduate Education Needs in Warfare Ecology

This essay reviews current best practices in graduate education emphasizing those that would be particularly useful to warfare ecology, a budding subdiscipline within the area of environmental sciences. A discussion is also provided on those teaching strategies and experiences that may be particularly appropriate developing effective graduate and professional training programs in warfare ecology. This newly emergent discipline is inherently interdisciplinary, and as such, the development of professional training and graduate education opportunities in this area would be best served if guided by current best practices for interdisciplinary graduate education. In this essay, I discuss (1) characteristics of warfare ecology that should guide research training and education in this science theme, (2) shared elements of interdisciplinary graduate training programs, (3) highlights of training skills and educational strategies that may be unique to warfare ecology or should be explored, and (4) policy implications for peace and security. Emphasis is given to proven strategies within the context of IGERT programs and similar interdisciplinary programs in the US but with the understanding that implementing interdisciplinary education in warfare ecology (particularly given the nature of its content) is bound to be governed by needs that differ widely from country to country.
Elvia J. Meléndez-Ackerman

An Essay on the Relationship of Warfare Ecology to General Ecology

Warfare represents not only tragedies for societies and casualties and suffering for people, but also a great menace to environmental health and most living organisms. In a short time, warfare mobilizes a massive amount of energy, matter and information without a transparent and shared control of actions usually adopted by societies during peace-time. It comprises a very special “extreme” tool to reduce competition, to increase equity or paradoxically to create privileges among people and societies. When observed from an ecological perspective, warfare appears as an adaptive response to local or regional perturbations. Climate changes or resource-availability perturbations often are the cause of warfare, although ideological conflicts often mask the environmental proxies. Environmental perturbations, when associated with inter-ethnic competition, create favorable conditions for new periods of warfare. The ecological consequences of warfare largely depend on the technologies adopted by opponents and often the use of chemical (contaminants) and biological (origin of new manipulated diseases) weapons create a damaging scenario that can persist for a long time in territories and regions. Warfare ecology can have a major role in warfare processes not only in terms of awareness and mitigation of the effects of warfare on people and living systems, but also by educating policy actors to preserve and conserve resources.
Almo Farina

Observations and Insights from the NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Warfare Ecology

The authors participated in the NATO Advanced Workshop as ­designated observers, for the purpose of documenting and summarizing the content of the presentations and discussions. This chapter summarizes the participant presentations during sessions A-F as well as the outcomes of three Working Group assessments. The assessments of policy implications, research priorities, and training and education followed the workshop presentations and discussions. The assessments were intended to synthesize and frame future directions and priorities in warfare ecology.
William W. Doe, Clifford S. Duke, John J. Fittipaldi


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