Plenary Sessions

The 2018 SAF National Convention in Portland, Oregon, will explore how policy influences the science and management of forested landscapes, and the role of scientists and managers in informing forest policy. From an overview of Pacific Northwest forests, to perspectives on the challenges of transforming state and federal policy into effective natural resource management, to a discussion of how wildland fire policy may be influencing forest management decisions, plenary sessions will consider the role of science in policy decisions and the role of scientists and managers in the policy process.

Plenary 1: Forest Policy and Forest Management (Never the Twain Shall Mix?)

The opening plenary will provide a welcome to the Pacific Northwest and set the tone for thinking about the role of science and policy in forest management. What is the role of science in policy decisions? What is the role of scientists and managers in the policy process? Why don’t they listen to us?

Speaker: Peter J. Daugherty is the Oregon State Forester

Plenary 2: The Shaping of Forest Management through Science and Policy

This plenary will provide a perspective into the role of science and policy in forest management in the Pacific Northwest and United Sates. Manifest destiny, rugged independence, multiple-use management, scientific management, and now fire and restoration have driven how and why forest management has changed from a policy perspective over the last 120+ years. Speakers will illustrate how human values and science intertwine and give rise to policies that challenge managers of forested landscapes in the 21st century. What role does forest science play in contemporary policy development and how can it reliably inform the process when we have problems with the politics? Speakers will discuss the challenges of transforming policy into actual management actions on both private and public lands, particularly when policies tend to shift with changing administrations at state and national levels.

Speakers: Dr. Bob Lackey is professor of fisheries science at Oregon State University. In 2008 he retired after 27 years with the Environmental Protection Agency’s national research laboratory in Corvallis where he served as deputy director and associate director for science, among other senior science and leadership jobs. Since his very first fisheries job mucking out raceways in a California trout hatchery, he has worked on an assortment of natural resource issues from various positions in government and academia. His professional assignments involved diverse aspects of natural resource management, but mostly he has operated at the interface between science and policy. He has published more than 100 articles in scientific journals. Lackey has long been an educator, having taught at five North American universities and currently teaches a graduate course in ecological policy. Canadian by birth and a US-Canadian dual-citizen, he lives in Corvallis, Oregon.

Bettina Ring is the Virginia State Forester. Prior to that Ring served as senior vice president of family forests at the American Forest Foundation where she was responsible for overseeing the American Tree Farm System®, the largest and oldest sustainable woodland program in America, supporting more than 80,000 family forest owners collectively managing 27 million acres of certified woodlands. Ring has a long history in the conservation and forestry sectors, having spent 14 years at the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF), departing the agency in 2001 as deputy state forester. In her role, Ring was responsible for operations, and helped to develop and implement a new mission, vision and strategic plan for the department. In the years following her VDOF service, Ring held various leadership positions within nonprofit organizations focusing on natural resources management and conservation, including the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, The Wilderness Land Trust, and the Bay Area Open Space Council. Ring holds a bachelors degree in forestry and wildlife from Virginia Tech and a masters degree in business administration from James Madison University. 

Plenary 3: Are Foresters Managing for Wildfire or is Wildfire Managing Forests?

We can debate the reasons why or how we’ve arrived at the current state of forests in the United States, but the impact of wildfire is undeniable. Panelists will challenge attendees to consider how wildland fire policy is driving or is being driven by forest management decisions. Private landowners are altering portfolios to manage for risk, while pubic land agencies are desperately trying to increase the pace and scale of forest restoration treatments. What are the implications for future forests and future management?

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