Questions and Answers
- Shared Stewardship is a collaborative approach to land management that emphasizes partnering with states, tribes, and other groups to identify joint priorities and to develop cross boundary strategies that make an impact at the right scale. To achieve this, the agency will leverage new science and new planning tools to ensure that we are doing the right work in the right places.
- Federal land managers, state and tribal authorities, and private and nonprofit landowners across the nation face urgent forest management challenges. Catastrophic wildfires, invasive species, drought, and epidemics of forest insects and disease do not know borders or boundaries.
- The Forest Service estimates that approximately 80 million acres—more than the entire state of New Mexico!—of national forest system lands are subject to some combination of high wildfire hazard, above-normal levels of insect and disease mortality, and other restoration treatment needs. These 80 million federal acres do not include state, private, or tribal forest lands.
- The impacts of wildfires can be devastating to local communities and economies. With 44 million homes now in the wildland-urban interface, the risk from wildfire is greater than ever before.
The Forest Service will use this collaborative approach to land management to address cross-boundary challenges and opportunities by:
- Convening partners to define mutual goals and priorities areas across forest ownership boundaries;
- Sharing decision space with states, counties, tribes and other partners;
- Taking advantage of scenario planning capacity and resources to help define the areas of greatest risk and opportunity; and
- Supporting active management by non-federal partners, including across boundaries when appropriate, to address the issue at a scale that matters and demonstrates an outcome from the investments.
- The Forest Service will share decision space with state and tribal foresters and other partners when determining land management needs. By setting priorities together, we can better focus our land management efforts.
- This approach will incorporate advanced science and new mapping and decision tools to focus treatments where they can do the most good across jurisdictional boundaries.
- The Forest Service is also working to improve its internal processes and structures to support this collaborative approach for the long term.
- The agency is working with states, tribes and other partners to address a wide range of issues across the country, such as mitigating threats from catastrophic wildfire, responding to infestations of forest insects and disease, improving the health of watersheds, and restoring wildlife habitat, to name a few.
- In New England, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Forest Service are collaborating on sustainable forest management, forest land conservation, and economic development initiatives designed to conserve 361,941 acres identified as “high priority” due to the ecological benefits the area supports.
- In several Southern states, the Forest Service is collaborating with state foresters and America's Longleaf Restoration Initiative to restore longleaf pine ecosystems, one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world.
- The Forest Service, states, tribes and communities are coordinating to preposition fire protection resources while prioritizing the safety of the public and our fire fighters during these incidents.
- Collaborative management through Shared Stewardship seeks to change the trajectory of forested landscapes and create more resilient forests over time. These landscapes will be much less likely to fuel the conditions for catastrophic wildfires that permanently damage ecosystems and pose significant threat to lives and property.