Time covers the problems Texas State University has had finding a site for a large outdoor cadaver decomposition laboratory:
[N]eighbors complained that the facility would affect property values and attract coyotes and vultures. TSU had to abandon the site, over concerns that gathering vultures would threaten aircraft, and university officials say the body farm will be built elsewhere in the area.
I can understand why they wouldn't want to see that headline: "Body farm vultures threaten aircraft". It's like the seventh voyage of Sinbad or something.
The article has some history:
The first facility at the University of Tennessee Forensic Anthropology Facility, was opened on a three-acre site in Knoxville in 1971 by noted anthropologist William Bass. Prolific crime writer Patricia Cornwell popularly dubbed it a "body farm" in her novel of the same name. Bass himself has co-written a series of best-selling novels set on the farm; the first, Carved in Bone, was described as "southern-fried forensics" by Kirkus Reviews.
The popular appetite for forensic stories is seen not just in novels and on TV but in a new CSI exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. Across the country more universities are adding forensics classes to their criminology programs. In addition to the proposed TSU facility, Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers and Chico State in California are planning their own outdoor criminology labs.
And also explains the practical importance: decomposition times are very different in these different parts of the country, and they have different insect populations.
Every semester I have students who want to study this stuff. Somehow, I don't get as many who want to be research subjects! It is much more environmentally friendly than embalming....