Collateral Values: The Natural Capital Created by Landscapes of War

  • Lookingbill T
  • Smallwood P
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Warfare and related military activities have intensive, long-term, negative impacts on the environment. But sites of past human conflict also present potential opportunities for conservation and restoration. We provide an approach to valuing military landscapes based on the ecosystem services that they provide. These services are often underappreciated because the benefits gained from the functioning of the ecosystems are not the primary reason for the protection of the sites. We describe these services as collateral values, drawing on the military concept of collateral damages. In this book, we provide examples from across the globe, reflecting conflicts stretching over hundreds of years. Landscapes considered include military battlefields, demilitarized borderlands, and potential peace parks. Specific conflicts include the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars, the Great European Wars, and recent engagements in Cuba, Afghanistan, and the Korean Peninsula. Examples are set within the conceptual framework of warfare ecology with a focus on post-war activities. They address conservation issues including land preservation, protection of biodiversity and water resources, and sustainable tourism. Where possible and appropriate, lessons learned from historical landscape trajectories are discussed in the context of their potential application to the future management of ecosystems still engaged in conflict. We suggest that the increased recognition of the multiple values of these unique landscapes should lead to their increased protection and careful management to preserve and promote the diverse services that they provide.




Lookingbill, T. R., & Smallwood, P. D. (2019). Collateral Values: The Natural Capital Created by Landscapes of War (pp. 3–14).

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