Call for Papers: Consequences of Modern Warfare on Ecology and the Environment

Purpose of the Flash Special Series

Russia’s acts of aggression in Ukraine remind us of the devastation of warfare on people, their built environments, and the natural environment. Military conflict has wrought large-scale environmental devastation throughout recorded history. Legends say that the armies of ancient Rome and Assyria, to ensure the capitulation of their enemies, sowed salt into the cropland of their foes, rendering the soil useless for farming. An infamous example of ecological devastation occurred during the Vietnam War when Agent Orange and other herbicides applied by US military forces decimated nearly 4.5 million acres of Southeast Asia. The degree to which warfare exerts an impact upon an ecosystem, its wildlife, and the services the ecosystem provides rests on the nature of the violence inflicted and the ecosystem’s sensitivity and resiliency to such assaults.

There are currently four core international crimes of concern, as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC): genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression. We may soon have a fifth. In 2021, the Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide drafted a definition of ecocide that could provide a basis for the consideration of a new international crime. Rigorous, data-driven approaches will be needed to prosecute crimes of ecocide, whether as a result of war or otherwise. While a large body of knowledge on the consequences of war on people and society is available, an objective and comprehensive assessment of the ecological impacts of warfare has yet to be conducted.

For this special series, IEAM aims to collect views from global experts on the broad environmental science and policy challenges raised by ecocide as a result of war. The goal of these short papers is to present data-driven, science-based insights that inform our understanding of the environmental impacts of war, and how they may be documented, characterized, and responded to.

Invitation to Experts

We invite experts to share their expertise on the investigation, assessment, mitigation, and remediation of damages caused by modern warfare through short commentaries. For the purposes of this flash special series, the papers should address the specific impacts of warfare on ecosystem structure (especially biodiversity and the status of wildlife populations and ecological communities) and function in aquatic and terrestrial environments.

Papers may include, but are not limited to, the following topics critical to understanding and addressing immediate and long-term environmental challenges:

  • Science and methods for identifying and quantifying war-related environmental damages across a range of spatial and temporal scales
  • Minimizing damage, managing, and restoring ecosystems that have been affected by warfare
  • Lessons learned since World War II about environmental damage, resilience, and recovery


Dates to Remember

  • Submit abstracts: 11 April 2022
  • Submit papers: 23 May 2022
  • Target publication: Fall 2022


Submission Instructions

Please submit an abstract (max. 250 words) for consideration to, by 11 April 2022. Authors of approved topics will be invited to submit short commentaries of approximately 1,000 words, or 5 double-spaced pages, including figures and tables. Papers will follow IEAM’s double-anonymous, peer-review process on an expedited timeline. Send abstracts and inquires to More details about IEAM: