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Conference on the geomorphical impact of warfare

Discussion in 'Military History' started by GRW, May 6, 2008.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    This looks interesting, but no chance of me getting to it-

    The Geomorphological Impacts of Armed Conflict

    Proposed session at 2009 International Geomorphological Congress

    Call for expressions of interest

    Significant immediate environmental cost is almost inevitably
    associated with military activities whatever the type of environment in
    which they may occur. The impacts of war, both physical and social,
    include damage to natural and cultural heritage values and to the
    potential for later environmentally sustainable economic development.
    Understanding of direct and later environmental impacts may also be
    pertinent to evaluating the legitimacy under international law of
    environmental impacts inflicted during armed conflict.

    Although the environmental consequences of war are typically very
    great, they have received relatively little discussion in the
    environmental literature. Moreover, such literature, when available,
    tends to focus on biological considerations with little attention paid
    to the physical environment. However, biodiversity is of course only
    one
    component of wider environmental diversity, and geodiversity in
    particular - geology, landforms, soils and the natural processes that
    form them - is an important value in its own right. Moreover,
    geodiversity is also the foundation stone upon which terrestrial
    biodiversity is dependent, it is fundamental to the functioning of many
    natural systems, and it is the source of many critical ecosystem
    services provided to humans.

    Additional Protocol 1 (AP 1), adopted by the Diplomatic Conference for
    the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law as
    additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, provides in Article 35,
    paragraph 3 that *It is prohibited to employ methods and means of
    warfare which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread,
    long-term and severe damage to the natural environment*. What insights
    might a better accounting of the impacts of armed conflict upon
    geomorphology and soils potentially offer to evaluating compliance with
    this requirement? Contemporary post-conflict environmental assessments
    tend to focus on biological and chemical metrics and to ignore
    geodiversity. However, landforms and soils typically develop over
    geological rather than human time frames, hence damage inflicted to
    them
    during armed conflict is potentially far more long-term than even the
    damage caused to biota, and in some cases it may also be
    *widespread* and/or *severe*.

    To explore the nature, degree and significance of the harm that is
    caused by armed conflict to landforms and soils, and also the potential
    significance of a geomorphological perspective to determining
    compliance
    with international laws of war, a session will be dedicated to these
    issues at the forthcoming International Geomorphological Congress in
    Melbourne, Australia in mid 2009.

    The key focus of the session will be on the impacts on geomorphology
    that are generated during the immediate conflict phase, and their
    potential relevance in evaluating whether environmental war crimes may
    have been committed. However, some time will also be set aside to
    consider related issues, such as impacts on geomorphology during
    pre-conflict phases, including harm caused to physical landscapes by
    military training; impacts associated with refugee movement and poverty
    both during conflicts and in their aftermath; and also ongoing physical
    legacies of past conflict, such as those associated with depletion of
    the natural resource base.

    Other potential areas for discussion include the implications for
    geomorphology of lapses in effective environmental governance during
    conflicts due to competing priorities of governments. And particularly
    worthy of discussion is the environmental harm that may accrue during
    the so-called "post-conflict" phase when the governance vacum
    facilitated by war may be filled by political corruption that impedes
    sustainable environmental management and allows ongoing environmental
    damage to persist for decades, to the detriment of both social and
    economic recovery and to the conservation of geoheritage and other
    natural and cultural heritage assets.

    Because these issues are so seldom canvassed in the literature the
    session convenor would like to hear from potential contributors so that
    he may ascertain likely interest and potential directions, and plan
    accordingly. If you are in a position to contribute a paper to this
    session he would particularly like to hear from you - and especially if
    you have some hard data to offer from a theatre of war. Please contact
    him at the following address:

    Dr Kevin Kiernan
    Lecturer in Conservation Geomorphology
    School of Geography and Environmental Studies
    Bag 78
    University of Tasmania
    Tasmania 7001
    Australia.

    Kevin.Kiernan@utas.edu.au
     
  2. mikeberry1962

    mikeberry1962 Member

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    Hi Gordon,
    Has he thought about Nuclear testing on surface and underground, I would think that has done more damage than any wars!!.
    Mike
     

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