Sentinel Landscapes & Farm Bill promote conservation near military installations

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The relationship between military installations and forest conservation continues to expand as the 2014 Farm Bill (recently passed by Congress) emphasizes the important relationship between military installations and private forestlands, requiring State-wide Assessments and Strategies (Forest Action Plans) to coordinate with appropriate military sites in their development process.  

This closely ties in with a Memorandum of Understanding signed this past December by the Department of Agriculture, Department of Interior, and Department of Defense to coordinate the delivery of federal programs that optimize federal assistance to private landowners whose working lands also serve to protect military missions.  The “Sentinel Landscapes” partnership establishes an interagency coordinating committee to advance initiatives that “promote preserve, enhance or protect habitat, working lands and associate agricultural and forest production in the vicinity of military installations.”

A component of the MOU is the Forest Opportunities for Resource Conservation and Environmental (FORCES) initiative that organizes and promotes the long-term management, conservation and retention of private forestlands consistent with Forest Action Plans and landscape priorities of military installations.  FORCES demonstration projects are currently underway in Florida (Eglin Air Force Base) and North Carolina (Fort Bragg Army Base and Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base).

Source: Mike Countess, Policy Analyst for the Southern Group of State Foresters