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Keynote and Plenary Session Speakers

Plenary 1: Social, Political and Ecological Legacies of the Great Fire of 1910

The Great Fire of 1910 (also commonly referred to as the Big Blowup or the Big Burn) was a wildfire that burned about three million acres (12,000 kmĀ², approximately the size of Connecticut) in northeast Washington, northern Idaho (the panhandle), and western Montana. The area burned included parts of the Bitterroot, Cabinet, Clearwater, Coeur d'Alene, Flathead, Kaniksu, Kootenai, Lewis and Clark, Lolo, and St. Joe national forests. The firestorm burned over two days (August 20-21, 1910), and killed 87 people, including 78 firefighters. It is believed to be the largest, although not the deadliest, fire in recorded US history.

Stephen J. Pyne is a Senior Sustainability Scientist, Global Institute of Sustainability, and Regents' Professor, School of Life Sciences, at Arizona State University. An author and world-renowned expert on exploration and the history, ecology, and management of fire, Dr. Pyne's research interests focus on how people and nature interact. In his own words: "It all began when, a few days after high school, 18 years old, I joined the forest fire crew at the North Rim of Grand Canyon. I returned for 15 seasons. Everything I've written, even the fact I write at all, dates from those years on the Rim."

In the opening keynote address, Dr. Pyne will provide an historical overview of the fire of 1910 as well as a discussion of the social and political consequences and the fire suppression policies that have developed over the past century and how those and other federal land management policies have influenced the forests of today in the region.

Plenary 2: Resilient Forests for the 22nd Century

In the context of changing climate, changing social structure and evolving business strategies and technologies, what will the future forest look like? This session will present and discuss concepts and methods for designing and applying strategies in anticipation of the changes that will occur during the course of decades-long or even centuries-long rotations and how we might advance our expectations in a positive and productive manner. In other words, how do we practice forestry today in anticipation of growing forests that will remain resilient and remain a fundamental source of global health and human welfare into the next century?

Ensuring Ecological Resilience: Why Does It Matter?

Understanding forest ecosystem responses to disturbance is key to developing the knowledge and tools needed to sustain ecological and economic objectives in managed ecosystems and landscapes. Many ecologists believe that sustainability is achieved by using natural disturbance and stand development processes as guides for management approaches. The goal is not to mimic nature directly, or even to emulate it closely. Rather the goal is to develop management approaches that reduce disparities between natural and managed systems in structure, composition, and function.

Brian Palik is the Team Leader / Research Ecologist for the Center for Research on Ecosystem Change at the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station. Palik's research foci include questions related to plant biodiversity and community composition, tree regeneration dynamics, and aboveground productivity. He is interested in tradeoffs between productivity (biomass, volume) and sustainability of other ecological characteristics (e.g., native species diversity and habitat) with a goal of developing and evaluating silvicultural and management approaches that sustain ecological complexity in forests managed for wood production. He holds a PhD in Forest Ecology and an MS in Plant Ecology from Michigan State University and a BS in Biology from Alma College.

Dr. Palik will discuss the elements of ecological resilience, the influences of climate change on forested ecosystems, and how we might design adaptive management strategies to sustain resilient forests for the long term.

Managing for Future Resilience in a Changing Climate?

Sustainable management of public forest lands requires a vision over time for the mix of structures, stands, and landscapes to reasonably fit with multiple objectives and ecosystem processes. Global climate change challenges this vision with tremendous uncertainty. To address this challenge, a team of researchers from the University of British Columbia and consultants working with Symmetree Consulting Group explored forest management vulnerabilities and potential risks associated with future climate uncertainty on a highly diverse six million acre management unit near Kamloops in Southern British Columbia. The ultimate goal was to increase the understanding of potential climate change impacts on local forests, and design an adaptive strategy to improve resilience and reduce vulnerabilities.

Ken Zielke has thirty years of forest management experience in British Columbia. Prior to that he taught silviculture and forest ecology at Selkirk College and worked in the West Kootenay Region. Working with the BC provincial government, and corporations in BC, the US, and Australia to help them manage for biodiversity objectives in natural forest systems, Ken has contributed to numerous strategic initiatives. He also assisted in a recent revaluation of Canadian National SFM criteria and indicators and is currently helping the BC government to design and implement a new approach to forest management planning.

Mr. Zielke will discuss the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Strategy for the Kamloops Timber Supply Area.

Plenary 3: Collaborating for Resilient Communities

This session will feature diverse examples of collaborative approaches to maintain our rural economies and way of life and enhance the vibrancy and livability of our cities and towns. Focusing on successful partnerships that have come about through professionals and communities seeking common ground, it will close with a keynote incorporating a synthesis of the day's topics and addressing how we might further a common goal of creating resilient forests, economies, and human communities.

The Ecosystem Workforce Program

By understanding the relationships between ecological health, economic well-being, and a vibrant democracy, we create the building blocks of a sustainable society. The Ecosystem Workforce Program was founded in 1994 to support the development of a high-skill, high-wage ecosystem management industry in the Pacific Northwest. Since that time, it has fostered forest-based sustainable rural development in forest communities by developing a restoration workforce training curriculum and supporting local quality jobs programs in forest communities. EWP supports community-based forestry programs through applied research projects, such as understanding the distribution of benefits from federal forest management and the working conditions of forest workers, and by working collaboratively with forest communities to educate national policymakers about impacts of forest policy on forest communities and landscapes.

Cassandra Moseley is the Director of the Ecosystem Workforce Program in the Institute for a Sustainable Environment at the University of Oregon. Moseley received her BA in Mathematics and Government from Cornell University and M. Phil, MA, and PhD degrees in Political Science from Yale University. She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Forestry.

Dr. Moseley will discuss the relationships between collaboration, communities, and forest management in the Pacific Northwest.

The Chicago Wilderness Alliance

Chicago Wilderness, a regional alliance dedicated to protecting and enhancing biodiversity throughout the Chicago metropolitan region, was founded in the mid 1990s. The US Forest Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service are founding members of Chicago Wilderness, and the number of member organizations has grown from the original 40 to over 250. Members work together on four primary initiatives, all aimed at improving resilience of natural and human communities: Climate Change, Leave No Child Inside, the Green Infrastructure Vision, and Restoring the Health of Local Nature. The US Forest Service, including Research and Development, supports Chicago Wilderness and other urban partnerships including the Baltimore Ecosystem Study and the NYC Urban Field Station. Combining research with practice on the ground, we learn the promise and pitfalls of local natural resource partnerships to promote vibrant communities and sustainable ecosystems.

Lynne M. Westphal is Project Leader and Research Social Scientist in the People and Their Environments: Social Science Supporting Natural Resource Management and Policy Unit at the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station. Her research aims to lessen the degradation, understand and build upon the place attachment, and create methods that work to involve local residents in creating a high-quality future for their region. She holds a PhD in Public Policy Analysis and Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a MA in Geography and Environmental Studies from Northeastern Illinois University, and a BA in South Asian Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Dr. Westphal will discuss the Chicago Wilderness Alliance, as well as other examples of community collaboration that help people understand how to manage natural resources to sustain vibrant and livable communities.

Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration

The bipartisan Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) was established in 2009 to foster collaborative, science-based restoration on priority forest landscapes across the US. The ultimate goal of CFLRP is to achieve improved forest benefits for people, water, and wildlife through collaboration and in a way that can be shared across the Forest Service's 193 million acres and beyond. Ten projects were selected in 2010, one of which was the Accelerating Longleaf Pine Restoration CFLRP, which includes 567,800 acres in the southern portion of the Greater Okefenokee Association of Landowners (GOAL) landscape in northeastern Florida and southeastern Georgia.

Susan Matthews has over 32 years of natural resource management experience at the District, Forest, and Regional levels of the US Forest Service. She became Forest Supervisor in Florida in 2008 after serving as Deputy Forest Supervisor for over a year. She has served the Forest Service across the country, including positions as District Ranger on two forests and more recent responsibilities at the Southern Research Station in Asheville, NC. Susan has established a reputation for excellent communication skills and the ability to facilitate collaborative efforts with a variety of federal, state, tribal, and private organizations. Susan has a BS degree in Natural Resource Management from Colorado State University and a Master's degree in Forest Management from the University of Idaho.

Ms. Matthews will provide an overview of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program and how the National Forests in Florida are using collaborative methods to reduce wildfire fuel loads, improve wildlife habitat, and restore critical ecosystem services in one of the most life-rich landscapes in North America.

Bringing the Pieces Together

Kent Connaughton is the Regional Forester of the USFS Pacific Northwest Region where he oversees 16 national forests, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and the Crooked River National Grassland. Connaughton began his career at the Pacific Northwest Research Station as a forest economics researcher. During his 30-year career in the US Forest Service, he has had assignments as Forest Supervisor on the Lassen National Forest in California and Deputy Regional Forester in the Pacific Southwest Region. Prior to being named Regional Forester for the Eastern Region in November of 2007, he served as Associate Deputy Chief for State & Private Forestry in Washington, DC. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University, a Master of Forestry degree from Oregon State University, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a SAF Fellow.

Dr. Connaughton will deliver a closing keynote address incorporating a synthesis of the day's topics and addressing how we might further a common goal of creating resilient forests, economies, and human communities.