Among human activities causing ecological change, war is both intensive and far-reaching. Yet environmental research related to warfare is limited in depth and fragmented by discipline. Here we (1) outline a field of study called “warfare ecology,” (2) provide a taxonomy of warfare useful for organizing the field, (3) review empirical studies, and (4) propose research directions and policy implications that emerge from the ecological study of warfare. Warfare ecology extends to the three stages of warfare—preparations, war, and postwar activities—and treats biophysical and socioeconomic systems as coupled systems. A review of empirical studies suggests complex relationships between warfare and ecosystem change. Research needs include the development of theory and methods for examining the cascading effects of warfare on specific ecosystems. Policy implications include greater incorporation of ecological science into military planning and improved rehabilitation of postwar ecosystem services, leading to increased peace and security.
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Vol. 58 • No. 8