The Army and the Desert Tortoise: Can Science Inform Policy Decisions?

James R. Spotila and Harold W Avery

in Experimental Approaches to Conservation Biology

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780520240247
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930636 | DOI:
The Army and the Desert Tortoise: Can Science Inform Policy Decisions?

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This chapter focuses on the controversy over the U.S. Army's proposed expansion of the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert of California and the protection of the desert tortoise, Gosephus agassizii. It addresses whether the expansion of Fort Irwin should be viewed as a problem for the desert tortoise or as an opportunity for its recovery. It first examines the history of the expansion of Fort Irwin, the basis for the Army's need for expansion, the claim that the desert tortoise is declining, and the history of the recent government actions towards expansion. It then discusses the roles of science, politics, and environmental action in the formation of policy in this matter.

Keywords: National Training Center; NTC; Fort Irwin; desert tortoise; Gosephus agassizii; science; politics

Chapter.  9310 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biodiversity and Conservation Biology

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