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Journal of Environmental Management

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Land damages -- analysis


Intensive use of military vehicles on Department of Defense training installations causes deterioration in ground surface quality. Degraded lands restrict the scheduled training activities and jeopardize personnel and equipment safety. We present a simulation-optimization approach and develop a discrete dynamic optimization model to determine an optimum land restoration for a given training schedule and availability of financial resources to minimize the adverse effects of training on military lands. The model considers weather forecasts, scheduled maneuver exercises, and unique qualities and importance of the maneuver areas. An application of this approach to Fort Riley, Kansas, shows that: i) starting with natural conditions, the total amount of training damages would increase almost linearly and exceed a quarter of the training area and 228 gullies would be formed (mostly in the intensive training areas) if no restoration is carried out over 10 years; ii) assuming an initial state that resembles the present conditions, sustaining the landscape requires an annual restoration budget of $957 thousand; iii) targeting a uniform distribution of maneuver damages would increase the total damages and adversely affect the overall landscape quality, therefore a selective restoration strategy may be preferred; and iv) a proactive restoration strategy would be optimal where land degradations are repaired before they turn into more severe damages that are more expensive to repair and may pose a higher training risk. The last finding can be used as a rule-of-thumb for land restoration efforts in other installations with similar characteristics.


This work was authored as part of the Contributor's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. Law.



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