Department of Defense recognizes FORCES Initiative

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Department of Defense (DoD) has recognized FORCES (Forest Opportunities for Resource Conservation and Environmental Security) as the most recent example of the Department’s “Sentinel Landscapes” concept.  FORCES is an initiative introduced by the Southern Group of State Foresters (SGSF) to conserve private forestland within areas of potential land use encroachment that otherwise threaten the training and readiness capability of military bases.  DoD supports efforts such as FORCES as part of its Sentinel Landscapes strategy to conserve working lands that buffer military bases and sites.

In a joint announcement by DoD and the USDA Forest Service on September 9, 2013, DoD recognized FORCES as the second Sentinel Landscape project in the United States.  The first Sentinel Landscape project was initiated at Joint Base Lewis McChord (Army) near Tacoma, Washington.  The joint announcement was made at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) annual meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina, September 9-11, 2013.

The recent FORCES initiative includes demonstration projects at Eglin Air Force Base (Florida),  Camp LeJeune Marine Corps Base and Fort Bragg Army Base in North Carolina.  Brigadier General Robert Castellvi (Commander Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune) observed that FORCES represents a “coalition of the willing” to work together to identify locations where conservation, working lands and national defense interests converge—places that are indeed “Sentinel Landscapes.”  Ken Arney (Deputy Regional Forester, Region 8, USFS) noted that the USFS competitive project and state matching funds will invest $1 million in private forestlands around the key military landscapes in North Carolina and Florida.  Further, Arney, noted that the FORCES initiative was an excellent example of aligning objectives of State Forest Action Plans and State Wildlife Action Plans to encourage private forest landowners to maintain, manage, and potentially expand forestland that supports national defense.

For more information, contact Wib Owen or Mike Countess.