Challenges In The Environmental Management Of Post-military Land Conversion
Free (open access)
K. C. Fischer, W. Spyra & K. Winkelmann
In 1994, after nearly 100 years of military use, the last Soviet forces withdrew from the Königsbrücker Heath. Constant artificial disturbance from military activity on this training range in Saxony, Germany, had changed the natural ecosystem from forest into open land. Now, due to the absence of military disturbance, the open lands have begun to reforest. As a result, a host of uncommon open land species face a potential loss of habitat. The Forest for Saxony Foundation (Stiftung Wald für Sachsen) owns this land and manages its conversion. The foundation takes on the challenge of disposing the waste from wide-spread ammunition and defusing the conflicts between the landscape’s various interest groups including the public, hunters and conservationists. This paper provides a forum to discuss the unique challenges and management tools used in the conversion of the Königsbrücker Heath. Keywords: conversion, demilitarisation, ecological management, hazardous waste, forest succession, natural preservation, open land management, GIS. 1 Introduction to demilitarisation and conversion The end of the Cold War signalled and end to the bi-polar weapons race and a start to world-wide disarmament. Both NATO and former Warsaw Pact nations committed to demilitarising many of their bases and properties. Demilitarisation meant dismantling military capabilities. Personnel were decommissioned, radar systems were dismantled, and rockets were taken from storage depots, emptied of their fuels and destroyed. After military potential was removed, military properties entered a stage of conversion. This second stage was essential in order to nullify the possibility of remilitarisation and to establish an alternative peacetime use for the former military property.
conversion, demilitarisation, ecological management, hazardous waste, forest succession, natural preservation, open land management, GIS.