Complementary Aspects and Common Goals in Natural Resources Management on Military Lands
Conducted in the Information Center
Nationalpark Neusiedler See-Seewinkel, Illmitz, Austria
15-17 May 2017
Military training ranges in Austria and in neighboring countries of Europe Germany, some of them in use for more than a century, have been subjected to mechanical disturbances as consequence of movements of military vehicles and tanks, and the direct and indirect impacts of artillery shooting and bombing exercises, often associated with wildfires started by explosive ordnance. Since other land-use was largely banned in those military grounds the combination of disturbances with the absence of pesticides, fertilizers, agricultural crops or reforestation activities have resulted in the formation of open land ecosystems, in which natural succession was halted, often associated with an impoverished soil nutrient status. These training ranges provide habitats and refugia for endangered species and open land ecosystems. Abandoned or reduced disturbances by military training have resulted in plant succession towards forest formation, resulting in losses of habitats for endangered species dependent on open-land ecosystems, notably the Calluna vulgaris heathlands. In some areas the desired effects of meanwhile abandoned military activities and wildfires are substituted by targeted grazing, mechanical treatment or prescribed fire. Unexploded ordnance (UXO) is an impediment for using traditional manned mechanical systems of prescribed fire due to safety reasons. The 2017 Illmitz workshop discussed alternatives, among other the use of unmanned remotely controlled and semi-autonomously operating vegetation treatment systems and the use of armored vehicles in safely setting prescribed fire and controlling wildfires.
On site demonstration of an autonomous tractor for open UXO-contaminated land management and the unmanned Dok-Ing landmine clearing vehicle, Austrian Armament and Defense Agency (AADA). Photos: David Kuelling, Swiss Department of Defense.
MTA Bruck-Neudorf briefing by Col. Neuhold, MTA commander (left) and GFMC and military personnel of Austrian Defence Forces observing the field demonstration
Presentation of use of prescribed fie on Federal military lands in Germany by the German Federal Forest Service (FGFS) and GFMC, presented by Lothar Schmid, FGFS
SPOT-55 in action in a prescribed burn in Germany an impression of the presentation by GFMC. Photo: DiBuKa