Shared Stewardship

Shared Stewardship

It seems like these days, every time you scroll
through the news, there’s a new threat
to our forests somewhere in the country. You might be asking
some tough questions, like, “Is this the new normal?
How did we get here?” and, “What can we do about it?” For more than a century,
the USDA Forest Service has actively managed
a lot of public lands– around 193 million acres. And our motto is, “Caring for the land
and serving people.” So we’ve been asking
the same tough questions. And we’re not the only
land managers looking for answers. Other federal
and state agencies, Native American tribes,
and conservation groups manage and protect
hundreds of millions of additional acres
of land in the U.S. They want healthy forests
just like we do, along with all of these guys. The stakes are high. Millions of Americans
rely on these lands. From clean water
and traditional ways of life to public utilities,
family farms, and outdoor recreation,
countless industries depend on healthy forests. But we haven’t
made it easy on ourselves. After 100 years
of putting out most wildfires, our forests are now overcrowded, full of insects and disease. And the truth is, our changing climate
and growing population are rewriting the playbook
for land managers. The answers are bigger
than property lines, jurisdictions,
and competing interests. Business as usual won’t cut it. We all know that working
together is the best way to accomplish something big. Here at the USDA Forest Service, we’re determined to be
the best partner we can be. So we’ve doubled down
on how we collaborate. We call it shared stewardship. Shared stewardship pushes us
to think differently across every branch
of our organization that will help us
create healthier, safer, more productive forests around
the nation for everyone. Shared stewardship is anchored
by three key principles. Number one, big problems
require big solutions. You can’t use an umbrella
to stop a tsunami. In the past,
there’s been great progress in taking care
of small patches of land. But we need to work
at much larger scales across entire landscapes to truly create
healthy, resilient forests. Number two,
natural disasters like wildfire don’t care about boundaries and don’t stop
at property lines. We need solutions
that work across boundaries, regardless of who owns the land. Number three, to successfully
face these issues we must work together
and share the risk together. That’s why we’re working
more closely than ever with states, tribes,
and other landowners all across the country
to prioritize the work we need to focus on first. At the end of the day,
shared stewardship is going to help make the Forest Service
a better partner in confronting the issues we are facing
across the country, so we can all continue
to enjoy and benefit from our amazing
public and private lands, now and in the future. Learn more
about shared stewardship by visiting our website.

3 thoughts on “Shared Stewardship

  1. Is allowing a pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail "Caring for the Land and Serving the People"? Is allowing Atlantic Coast Pipeline in keeping with the sustainment of the health, diversity, and productivity of the Appalachian Trail and does allowing a pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail meet the needs of present and future generations of recreators?

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