SERDP and ESTCP Webinar: Analysis of Defense Related Ecosystem Services

May 20, 2020

SERDP and ESTCP Webinar: Analysis of Defense Related Ecosystem Services

This SERDP and ESTCP webinar presents the results from two SERDP-funded projects on modeling tools to analyze ecosystem services on Department of Defense (DoD) lands and bases, including a framework for evaluating management alternatives which considers different ecosystem services and predicts their impact on climate and the environment, and a computational assessment tool to document the value that military bases provide to local communities in the form of ecosystem services.

“Value and Resiliency of Ecosystem Services on Department of Defense Lands” by Dr. Nate McDowell

The resiliency of ecosystem services (ESs) globally is challenged by multiple factors that make management of DoD forest lands complex. Furthermore, evaluating the total value of these ESs within a DoD appropriate framework is difficult due to the many different stakeholders and competing mission directives. In this presentation, we provide a coupled process-modeling-valuation framework that allows prediction of management and climate impacts on future ESs and subsequent evaluation of the trade-offs associated with management decisions. Examples of this approach will be presented from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Camp Navajo and Fort Benning. Project results to be discussed include net benefits to carbon storage, resiliency to climate, and endangered species habitat found in many situations due to management of forests. Trade-offs among stakeholder preferred ESs remain. Future analyses of the impacts of forest management on training lands will be discussed.

Dr. Nate McDowell is an earth scientist in the Watershed and Ecosystem Science division at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Dr. McDowell’s training is in understanding the carbon-water balance of trees at leaf to ecosystem scales. After performing postdoctoal research at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), he worked at LANL for 15 years before moving to PNNL. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Michigan, his Master of Science degree in tree physiology from the University of Idaho and his doctoral degree in forest ecosystems from Oregon State University.

“Model-Based Tracking and Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services (MoTIVES) for Military Base Land-Use and Land-Management Decisions” by Dr. Mark Borsuk

This project enhances the DoD’s ability to document the value that military bases provide to local communities in the form of biological, physical and ecological goods and services delivered by concomitant ecosystems. It also supports prediction of the impact of alternative future base land use and land management activities on ESs delivery. The presentation will discuss how this is accomplished through application of a computational assessment tool applicable to any DoD base called MoTIVES. A key feature of this tool is the holistic and rigorous accounting of feedbacks, interactions, co-benefits and cumulative effects, thereby allowing for robust characterization of quantitative differences between alternative scenarios. An additional novel element is the use of a Bayesian machine learning algorithm to simulate the land-use, land-cover patterns that would have filled the land parcel of a base had it never been built. As part of this SERDP effort, the pilot version of MoTIVES was applied to Eglin Air Force Base as a proof of concept, where it was shown that current management practices generate an additional $75.6 million per year in ESs. To ensure the model’s generalizability, we plan to fully apply MoTIVES to a diverse set of additional bases, making further model enhancements and modifications as needed.

Dr. Mark Borsuk is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He is also co-director of the Duke Center on Risk. Previously, Dr. Borsuk was Assistant Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth College. His research concerns the development and application of mathematical models for integrating scientific information on natural, technical and social systems. His research has been funded by multiple agencies including the DoD, National Science Foundation, US Environmental Protection Agency, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the US Forest Service. He has co-authored more than 85 peer-reviewed journal publications and six book chapters. He received a Bachelor of Science and Engineering degree in civil engineering and operations research from Princeton University, a Master of Science degree in statistics and decision sciences from Duke University and a doctoral degree in aquatic and atmospheric sciences from Duke University.