SEMP Integration Project

SEMP Integration 

Principal Investigator

Virginia H. Dale
Environmental Sciences Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Other Participants

Aaron Peacock
Center for Biomarker Analysis
University of Tennessee

Amy Wolfe and Taryn Arthur
Environmental Sciences Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Research Team Leaders

Beverly Collins and John Dilustro
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory
University of Georgia

Charles Garten, Jr.
Environmental Sciences Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Anthony Krzysik
Prescott College

Ramesh Reddy and Joseph Prenger
Soil and Water Science Department
University of Florida

Background and Objectives

Beginning in 1999, the SERDP Ecosystem Management Project (SEMP) initiated three indicator studies and two threshold studies in order to improve monitoring of environmental conditions at military installations. Our task is to evaluate indicators arising from these studies and begin to integrate them. The purpose of the integration is to focus the results of the research and monitoring programs on complementing Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans (INRMP) and improving environmental management of Fort Benning. Ultimately, the lessons learned at Fort Benning are expected to provide an example of how to improve environmental monitoring and management of DoD installations in general.


Each research team collected data for a large number of indicators. Some of the indicators are at the plot level (e.g. soil condition and characteristics of the vegetation or soil microbiology). Other indicators capture watershed conditions (e.g. stream chemistry or aquatic macroinvertebrates). Landscape indicators include the shape and pattern of habitat patches. Determining which of these indicators would be included in the final suite involved a series of screenings.

First, the teams were asked to propose which indicators, based on their research, were the most effective and easy to use to predict ecological change. These proposed indicators were then screened by multivariate analysis. The dependent variables for this analysis were taken from a matrix of land-management categories that was developed by the researchers in conjunction with Fort Benning resource managers. A detailed description of the land-management category matrix can be found here. The final screening step will evaluate the indicators based on the degree to which they met criteria for technical effectiveness and practical utility. These criteria are based on those developed by Dale and Beyeler (2001).

Discussions were held with Fort Benning resource managers about how indicators will be used in their management and planning activities. For management purposes, resource managers suggested that ideal indicators should do the following:

Links to Other Sites on Ecological Indicators

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March 28, 2005