Renewable Natural 

Resources Foundation

Congress on Contemporary Issues in Forest

and Wildland Management

December 13, 2017

National Union Building
918 F St NW

Washington, DC

Program        Program Committee

Click here to download the congress report.

Delegates representing state, federal and international agencies, the private sector, academia, and the NGO community examined the most critical issues faced by forest and wildland managers today. Presentation topics focused on the future of decision-making and key strategies for developing practical solutions.

RNRF’s 2017 Congress on Contemporary Issues in Forest and Wildland Management explored the effects of climate change, land-use, and community participation on forest and wildland management. Leading experts described how:

•  funding continuity for conservation programs and the USDA Forest Service can be improved;

•  science and collaborative processes can be harnessed to improve climate-change adaptation decisions;

•  new, multimedia technology can foster support for natural resources, and increase visitation and enjoyment of national forests, parks and resource lands;

•  land-use planning methods that balance environmental, social, economic and multiple-use factors can be more effectively deployed;

•  responsibilities among federal, state and local governments can be clarified to better manage the risks of catastrophic fires in the Wildland-Urban-Interface; and

•  creative policies can promote the reconciliation of conflicts between energy development and multiple uses on federal and private land.


Molly Cross
Wildlife Conservation Society
Amy Gibson-Grant
The Ad Council
Sarah Greenberger
National Audubon Society

Sarah McCaffery
USDA Forest Service
Cecilia Romero Seesholtz
USDA Forest Service
V. Alaric Sample
Pinchot Institute for Conservation

Tony Tooke
USDA Forest Service


8:15 am – 8:35 am
Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:35 am – 8:45 am
Welcome and Opening Remarks

Richard A. Engberg
RNRF Chairman
American Water Resources Association
Middleburg, Virginia

8:45 am – 9:15 am
Funding Continuity for Conservation Programs and the USDA Forest Service
Forests and wildlands provide recreational, spiritual, aesthetic, and economic benefits for society. However, financial support for managing public lands and resources has eroded over the past two decades. What steps can be employed to correct the long-term erosion of funding? Funding the suppression of wildfires has become a major problem because of adverse impacts on the Forest Services's non-fire programs. How can this situation be remedied?

Tony Tooke
USDA Forest Service
Washington, D.C.

9:15 am – 9:45 am
Questions and Discussion

9:45 am – 10:15 am
Adapting Forest and Wildland Management in Response to a Changing Climate
Predicting the long-term impacts of climate change on forest and wildland ecosystems is difficult. How can current monitoring and data collection techniques be adapted to improve public decision-making? What institutional changes are necessary to promote climate-conscious adaptive management?

V. Alaric Sample
Senior Fellow and President Emeritus
Pinchot Institute for Conservation
Washington, D.C.

10:15 am – 10:45 am
Questions and Discussion

10:45 am – 11:00 am

11:00 am – 11:30 am
Expanding the Use of Multimedia to Foster Support for Natural Environments and Resources
There is a need to renew and foster appreciation for conservation, preservation and use of natural resources in the public domain. Multimedia is a tool to reach the public and advance values of conservation. How will traditional marketing, advertising and public outreach be adapted to reach new audiences?

Amy Gibson-Grant
Vice President, Campaign Development
The Ad Council
Washington, D.C.

11:30 am – 12:00 pm
Questions and Discussion

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm

12:30 pm – 1:15 pm
Luncheon Presentation:
Managing Ecosystems Today with the Science that You Have

Molly Cross
Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator
Wildlife Conservation Society
Bozeman, Montana

1:15 pm – 1:45 pm
Reconciling Energy Development with Multiple Uses
Oil, gas, and mineral extraction and renewable energy development can cause extreme disturbances to entire ecosystems. Some federal agencies managing forests and wildlands have a mandate to promote energy development, preserve ecological integrity, and encourage multiple uses – goals that often conflict. What steps can be taken to diminish the adverse effects of energy development on renewable resources, ecosystems, and their surrounding communities?

Sarah Greenberger
Vice President, Conservation Policy
National Audubon Society
Washington, D.C.

1:45 pm – 2:15 pm
Questions and Discussion

2:15 pm – 2:45 pm
Evolving Land-Use Planning Approaches

The 2012 Planning Rule, and subsequent 2015 Final Derivatives, guide development, amendment, and revision of land management plans across the National Forest System. The rule was developed to address contemporary planning issues like sustainable recreation and climate change. How are forest mangers anticipating and incorporating future impacts of climate change and community needs into revised forest plans?

Cecilia Romero Seesholtz
Forest Supervisor, Boise National Forest
Acting Director, Ecosystem Management Coordination
USDA Forest Service
Washington, D.C
Jamie Barbour
Assistant Director of Adaptive Management, Ecosystem Management Coordination
USDA Forest Service
Washington, D.C.

2:45 pm – 3:15 pm
Questions and Discussion

3:15 pm – 3:30 pm

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Managing Residential and Commercial Inholdings and Interface Developments—The Wildland-Urban-Interface

Wildfires are becoming more devastating as more people move into the Wildland-Urban-Interface (WUI), the zone of transition between unoccupied land and human development. How can the responsibilities of firefighting and resource provision among the federal government, states and counties be delineated and clarified? What measures can be taken to reduce wildfires in the interface? 

Sarah McCaffrey
Research Forester, Rocky Mountain Research Station
USDA Forest Service 
Fort Collins, Colorado

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Questions and Discussion

4:30 pm

Robert Day
Executive Director

Congress Program Committee

Richard Engberg, RNRF Chairman; American Water Resources Association

Robert Day, RNRF Executive Director
John E. Durrant, RNRF Vice-Chairman; Sr. Managing Director, Engineering & Lifelong Learning, American Society of Civil Engineers
Lisa Engelman, Alternate Director, RNRF Board of Directors; American Water Resources Association
Sarah Gerould, RNRF Board Member; Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Paul Higgins
, RNRF Board Member; Director, Policy Program, American Meteorological Society
Lu Gay Lanier
, RNRF Board Member; American Society of Landscape Architects Fund
Raj Pandya
RNRF Board Member; Program Director, Thriving Earth Exchange, American Geophysical Union
Howard Rosen
, RNRF Board Member; Public Interest Member; USDA Forest Service (retired)
Nancy C. Somerville, Alternate Director, RNRF Board of Directors; President, American Society of Landscape Architects Fund
Barry Starke, RNRF Board Member; Public Interest Member; Former President, American Society of Landscape Architects
Kasey White, RNRF Board of Directors; Director of Geoscience Policy, Geological Society of America

RNRF Staff Liaisons:
Attiya Sayyed, Program Manager
Amber Todoroff
Program Manager

Special Thanks:
Leslie A.C. Weldon, Deputy Chief, National Forest System, USDA Forest Service
Katie Hoover, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress
Robin O'Malley, Director, North Central Climate Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey

Introduction    Program     Program Committee