Ecosystem-based management for military training, biodiversity, carbon storage, and climate resiliency on a complex coastal land/water-scape

350 210 Stroud Water Research Center

Christensen, N.L., P.A. Cunningham, K. Matthews, I.C. Anderson, M.J. Brush, S. Cohen, C.A. Currin, S. Ensign et al. 2020. Journal of Environmental Management 280: 111755.


The Defense Coastal/Estuarine Research Program (DCERP) was a 10-year multi-investigator project funded by the Department of Defense to improve understanding of ecosystem processes and their interactions with natural and anthropogenic stressors at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (MCBCL) located in coastal North Carolina. The project was aimed at facilitating ecosystem-based management (EBM) at the MCBCL and other coastal military installations. Because of its scope, interdisciplinary character, and duration, DCERP embodied many of the opportunities and challenges associated with EBM, including the need for explicit goals, system models, long-term perspectives, systems complexity, change inevitability, consideration of humans as ecosystem components, and program adaptability and accountability. We describe key elements of this program, its contributions to coastal EBM, and its relevance as an exemplar of EBM.