Sustainability of military lands: Historic erosion trends at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
Paul E. Albertson, 2001. "Sustainability of military lands: Historic erosion trends at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri", The Environmental Legacy of Military Operations, Judy Ehlen, Russell S. Harmon
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Military land managers are faced with questions of landscape stability and sustainability. Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, was selected to test these concerns because it has been the site of engineering training for over 50 years. Prior to U.S. Army occupancy, the landscape was undergoing disequilibrium resulting from historic land use activities. An integrated approach was used to examine landscape changes using existing information and technologies to answer geomorphic inquiries of equilibrium and recovery. The lack of a long-term sediment record was supplemented by performing soil-loss modeling. Soil simulations were done using the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) to simulate the effect of changing land use and land cover on soil loss. The aerial photographic record offered a means to create land cover for RUSLE simulations. The sustainable or acceptable soil-loss rate is known as the soil loss tolerance. Simulation of soil loss using 1938, 1955, 1976, and 1997 aerial photographs identified "hot spots" where soil loss was greater than tolerance. The results show that past Army training activities caused more soil loss than did presettlement activities, but that estimated soil loss from current training is less than loss rates before military occupancy of the landscape. Current best management practices are leading to landscape restoration within accepted soil loss tolerance. This study supports the U.S. Army’s commitment to landscape stewardship, which is essential for land-use sustainability.