Supporting Military Readiness Through Management of Private Forestlands
The armed forces of the U.S. are increasingly challenged with incompatible land use adjacent to forts, bases and other military installations. Development and changes in land use around military installations can constrain training missions and other operational activities of the site. In many cases, the "footprint" of the installation has become inadequate to support changes in technology and functionality of missions that are compromised by expanded urban, residential and industrial development on lands surrounding the base.
By contrast, adjoining forestland near a military installation can greatly support the training and readiness of the soldiers, sailor, airmen or Marines stationed there. In fact, the Department of the Army estimated that it had a backlog of 2 million acres needed for training, and that number continues to increase. The Department of Defense has recognized the importance of strategies to promote retention and management of forestland.
Recognizing this challenge, the Southern Group of State Foresters proposed an innovative strategy, "Forest Opportunities in Resource Conservation and Environmental Security," or FORCES, to encourage the long-term management of private forestlands that help maintain the capability of the United States military. Through the voluntary participation of landowners, FORCES provides technical assistance services and incentives that focus on forest landscapes to meet shared objectives of the military, state agencies and partnerships.
Working with the number of agencies and jurisdictions involved in a FORCES project can be a challenge. To help streamline the planning process, SGSF has developed a FORCES Project Planners' Guidebook to provide coordinators a step-by-step guide to plan and implement a FORCES project through fruition.