Implementing Shared Stewardship- A Collection of Cohesive Strategy Success Stories from Across the South

Forests are inextricably tied to the heritage and culture of the South. The region is the wood basket of the United States, with forests comprising nearly 40 percent of the land area.

These forests are the fuel that keeps rural communities in motion—providing jobs,products to take to market, recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts and the physical infrastructure to support other industries in the region.

The forested landscape varies from state to state. Industry presence is different,management styles vary slightly due to climate, topography and markets, even the structure of each state forestry agency is different.

But, there is one thing that unifies each state—and the different public and private stakeholders at each level of government. It is a passion for reducing the impacts of wildfire, enhancing the productivity of our forests and protecting the people who enjoy the communities that surround the forests. Those stakeholders are unified through the implementation of a unified strategy for wildfire management.

In 2009, as a part of the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act (FLAME), the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of the Interior developed the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy (Cohesive Strategy) to address the complexities of today’s wildland fire management issues.

The Cohesive Strategy is a strategic push to work collaboratively among all stakeholders and across all landscapes, using the best science available, and to make meaningful progress towards the three national goals. The goals identified are:

• Restore and Maintain Landscapes: Making sure that public and private property (forested and non-forested) is resilient to wildfire.

• Fire-Adapted Human Communities: Ensuring that communities are ready for wildfire incidents.

• Wildfire Response: Building the right partnerships to ensure that all jurisdictions are operating towards the same goal in a wildfire situation.

The implementation of the Cohesive Strategy in the southeast region is a continuation of the way that the forestry community has done business for decades – through collaboration and inclusion. The following icons link to a collection of success stories (full report) in implementing the Cohesive Strategy in the U.S. South.

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