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Edited by Paulo A.L.D. Nunes, Pushpam Kumar and Tom Dedeurwaerdere
Chapter 11: Optimal selection of clustered conservation lands using integer programming: the case of Fort Stewart in Georgia, USA
Suitable habitat areas for many rare, threatened, or endangered species in North America may be located on or near military installations in the USA (Stein et al., 2008). Figure 11.1 shows that Department of Defense (DoD) lands have the highest density of and second highest distribution of endangered and imperiled species amongst all the Federal land management agencies. While military training may cause some habitat deterioration, military control of the lands actually prevents destructive urban and agricultural development. This has the potential to create a concentration of valuable habitat in and around military installations (Orth and Warren, 2006). Besides protection of the lands from alternative economic uses, the DoD also allocates a significant amount of human capital and land for conservation efforts toward protecting and managing wildlife habitat in and around military installations. In 2006, the DoD spent US$4.1 billion on environment-related expenses, of which US$1.4 billion was for environment restoration and US$204.1 million was for conservation (Benton et al., 2008). At the same time, new and conventional training requirements are increasing, making it difficult to set aside land solely for conservation purposes within military installations and elevating the importance of managing military lands for multiple competing objectives. As an alternative to more costly arrangements, such as purchasing land and sharing land with other agencies, effective utilization of the existing lands for conservation and military purposes can be accomplished by designing an optimum landscape that places conservation and military training areas in a desirable spatial configuration.
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