Position Statements

Advancing Shared Stewardship on Federal, State, Tribal, and Private Lands through Cross-Boundary Management and Partnerships


To promote the use of federal and state authorities to integrate management on federal and associated state, tribal, and private lands with willing partners and support management on federal lands that enhances “Shared Stewardship” of natural resources. 


Authorities that enable collaborative cross-boundary management of federally administered lands and other associated ownerships, on a voluntary basis, as well as authorities enabling partners to assist directly with management on federal lands. Such authorities allow government agencies and other willing partners to share resources for planning and implementing mutually desirable management activities on federal lands and other ownerships using federal, state, tribal, and private expertise, infrastructure, resources, and funding.


The Society of American Forests (SAF) supports “Shared Stewardship” of federal and associated state, tribal, and private lands involving willing partners through mutually beneficial voluntary partnerships and collaborative cross-boundary management. Shared Stewardship refers to the use of federal and state authorities and policies to plan and implement management activities that benefit all partners and allow for more effective management of processes and programs that transcend ownerships. In these situations, planning and implementing collaborative projects, or supplementing increased management capacity by utilizing partners, provides administrative, ecological, social, and economic benefits for current and future generations. Shared Stewardship helps achieve common goals and addresses complex current and future administrative ecological, social, and economic challenges more efficiently and effectively. Enabling collaboration enhances responsiveness as conditions change to deliver ecosystem services and build resiliency of natural resources to disturbance. Leveraging and improving federal and state authorities, coupled with the collective efforts of federal and state governmental managers, willing and engaged private landowners, businesses, local governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), philanthropic investors, community groups, and other interested parties is and will continue to be necessary to overcome capacity and resource constraints and increase the scale, financial investment, and benefits of each Shared Stewardship project. Where appropriate authorities do not exist, SAF and other interested parties can work together to advocate for new and efficient authorities that support partnerships and cross-boundary projects. 

SAF can help support partnership and collaborative cross-boundary management models by outlining the needs, educating all parties about the potential to leverage resources and work together, advocating for programmatic or legislative improvements to the authorities, and highlighting examples of success. 

Approved: July 2022

Download and share the full position statement.

Download Full Position Statement

Advancing Shared Stewardship
(Adobe PDF File)