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THE PINCHOT LETTER Leadership in Conservation Thought, Policy and Action

Vol.18, No. 3 Summer 2016

In the Long Run: Conservation and the Social Compact The John Muir Trail south of Pinchot Pass in Kings Canyon National Park.

Char Miller uring his frenetic, and ultimately unsuccessful, 1925 primary campaign for the US Senate in Pennsylvania, Gifford Pinchot paused to reflect what it meant to plant trees.


He and his wife Cornelia Bryce Pinchot were in the process of reforesting portions of Grey Towers, the family’s estate in Milford, with an array of oaks, pine, and beech. Of these many saplings, his favorite were the copper beeches whose height, dense foliage, and broad, arching crown he knew would bring much-needed shade to the once-cutover site. Their deep purple leaves, vividly setting off the bluestone

chateau overlooking the Delaware River Valley, would anchor the landscape’s vistas and beautify its sweep. Visit Grey Towers today, now managed as a National Historic Site by the Forest Service, and you will see what he had in mind when he reportedly confided to Corvia Christian, his campaign manager, how much this regeneration project meant to him: “By George I’d like to come back a hundred years from now and see my trees.” Pinchot was also attracted to this particular species of beech because of when he first set eyes on it. In 1889, the 24-year-old Yale College graduate, (continued on page 6)

INSIDE In This Issue: The Stewardship 2 Forest Stewardship and the Land 4 Tracing the Threads of an Evolving 8 Professional Ethics in 12 Forestry in a Changing 16 The Business of 20 Inside the 24

WASHINGTON OFFICE: 1616 P Street NW, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20036 202.797.6580 WESTERN REGIONAL OFFICE: 4033 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97221 503.836.7880 GREY TOWERS NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE: PO Box 188, Milford, PA 18337 570.296.9630



In This Issue

The Stewardship Ethic


he theme of this issue, the stewardship ethic, was a transformative concept when it was first introduced into the lexicon of forestry a century ago by thinkers like Aldo Leopold and Gifford Pinchot. The influence of a moral imperative when managing the landscape — an ethic to sustain and protect our natural resources — has been variously interpreted (and heeded) in the intervening years. And in some cases past actions that may be regrettable are still debated or not scientifically understood (e.g. fire suppression and how to sustain fire-resilient ecosystems).

Climate change has been added to this challenge, and with it greater understanding and acceptance of the potential for reducing emissions through forestry, including by increasing wood use for energy and construction. Along with new demands on forestry arises the need to revisit policies that both incentivize and constrain management. How we manage the land to mitigate and adapt to climate change expands the geography of our ethical considerations. Interpreting and applying the stewardship ethic in a stand of trees is an ever more sophisticated exercise that makes us consider both global consequences and local economies. Also, a stewardship ethic applied in every place

The mission of the Pinchot Institute is to advance conservation and sustainable natural resource management by developing innovative, practical, and broadly-supported solutions to conservation challenges and opportunities. We accomplish this through nonpartisan research, education, and technical assistance on key issues influencing the future of conservation and sustainable natural resource management.



Nicholas H. Niles, Chair, Hawley, PA Paul H. Wilson, Jr., Vice Chair, New York, NY Malcolm McAlpin, Treasurer, Hawley, PA Anita Mielert, Secretary, Simsbury, CT Carol R. Collier, West Trenton, NJ Kent Connaughton, Portland, OR James R. Grace, University Park, PA Frederick B. Hendricks, MD, Bethesda, MD J. Robert Hicks, Jr., Richmond, VA Thomas Kirkwood, Shawnee on Delaware, PA Kenneth H. Klipstein, Somerville, PA Wade Mosby, Lake Oswego, OR William C. Price, Princeton, NJ Larry A. Quinn, Fairfax Station, VA Kenneth J. Warren, Bryn Mawr, PA

John C. Barber, Warsaw, VA George H. Bohlinger III, Washington, DC Hugh C. Miller, Richmond, VA R. Max Peterson, Springfield, VA Thomas Schenarts, Kennett Square, PA

OF COUNSEL David Luigs, Washington, DC

LIAISONS Vicki Christiansen, USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC William Dauer, USDA Forest Service, Milford, PA Daniel Devlin, Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, Harrisburg, PA

STAFF William C. Price, Acting President Alex Andrus, Director of External Affairs R. Patrick Bixler, University Fellow Edgar B. Brannon, Senior Fellow Antony S. Cheng, University Fellow

The Pinchot Letter is a publication of the Pinchot Institute for Conservation. ©2016 Pinchot Institute for Conservation

Stephanie P. Dalke, Project Director James Finley, University Fellow Patrice A. Harou, Senior Fellow Ben Hayes, Research Fellow Brian A. Kittler, Director, Western Regional Office Dennis C. LeMaster, Senior Fellow Catherine M. Mater, Senior Fellow Char Miller, University Fellow Peter C. Pinchot, Senior Fellow Darshini Prabhakher, Assistant Director, Finance and Administration Vandana Ranjan, Administrative Coordinator V. Alaric Sample, Senior Fellow & President Emeritus Jeff M. Sirmon, Senior Fellow James B. Snow, Esq., Senior Fellow Harold K. Steen, Senior Fellow Jennifer J. Yeager, Chief Financial Officer For staff biographies please visit

Design and production: Judith Barrett Graphics, Alexandria, VA Printing: HBP, Hagerstown, MD Printed on recycled paper. Cover photo: Flickr user sheenjek CC BY-NC 2.0

In accordance with Federal law and US Department of Agriculture policy, the Pinchot Institute does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination: write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.



 At the end of 2015, Al Sample stepped down as the President of the Institute after what was a very distinguished and accomplished tenure of 20 years. Under his direction, the Institute evolved and expanded from a staff of one to an organization with staff on both coasts and projects of many kinds throughout the country. I have appreciated Al’s generous advice as we seek to continue the growth and impact of the Institute. Even more important are the many years of support and guidance, through which I came to recognize the vital role the Institute can play to cultivate and test new ideas, and the need for courage when pursuing a “conservation ethic” and seeking the greatest good among competing interests. His depth of knowledge on the history of forestry in the US is incomparable. I know I speak for staff past and present when I express gratitude for making the Institute what it is today and look forward to working with him in his capacity as a Senior Fellow. One of the hallmarks of the Institute has been its passion—in both mission and work—to act based on an understanding of the many different connections people have with land and nature. This passion endures. In this issue of The Pinchot Letter, Al’s introduction and the contributions from leaders in the field of conservation remind us of the ethical foundations of this field—and point to

challenges today where we would be wise to evaluate our collective mission and purposes for action. The timing of this issue coincides with some introspection within the Institute, during which its board and staff are revisiting the mission of conservation, both from the perspective of what work is needed, but also to define the future role of an idea-driven and passionate organization like the Institute. We have appreciated the generous and dedicated engagement of the Forest Service and our other partners and friends through this process. In the natural resources community the stage is changing— with growing populations, global climate change, and public discourse that can poison reasoned compromises. So the stakes are higher. We believe that the work necessary to change the public discourse and create and test new approaches is critically reliant on collaborative work through partnerships the Institute will seek to create and renew. In my few months as Acting President I have already heard many ideas on what the Institute can be and what issues it should tackle next. These dialogues have inspired me and I look forward to continuing them and hearing from more of you as we continue our fight for conservation. USFS/Sara Huebner

we “tinker” with nature is more necessary, since we cannot fully know what changes may come or parts will be lost.


—Will Price





Forest Stewardship and the Land Ethic: A Fresh Look


orestry professionals have a special responsibility for the conservation and sustainable management of one of the most important natural resources on Earth. Forests represent a third of the planet’s land area, but they are home to two-thirds of the world’s animal and plant species, and represent almost three-quarters of the carbon present in living organisms. Forestry professionals today are highly educated in the science of how these ecosystems work, and are increasingly skilled in understanding the economic, social, and cultural contexts that make sustainable forest management possible. However, science and economics are not always enough. Aldo Leopold taught that there is an underlying land ethic in what foresters do, a moral responsibility to conserve and sustain these ecosystems for future generations and for the diversity of species that depend upon them. Foresters are the stewards of these important resources, with a responsibility to reflect this land ethic in their own actions, but also to educate and to lead. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Grey Towers Protocol, which established a set of guiding principles for forest managers, based on the “moral imperative” of land stewardship. It also came to define in the minds of many the values, mission, and purposes of the Pinchot Institute. The Grey Towers Protocol was the outcome of a symposium held at Grey Towers National Historic Site in November 1990, in conjunction with the centennial of the Forest Reserve Act of 1891. It was published by the Pinchot Institute in 1991 as a book entitled Land Stewardship in the Next Era of Conservation, and is still available from the Pinchot Institute in print and at The Grey Towers Protocol reflected the fundamental reexamination of forestry that was taking place at this critical juncture in the history of US forest policy. In the intervening 25 years, we have witnessed major changes in forestry toward the conservation and sustainable management of forests as complex, biologically-diverse ecosystems, supporting equally complex economic, social, and cultural systems in human societies. Ideas and approaches that were bold and controversial 25 years ago now have become widely accepted as standard practice on many private as well as public forest lands. In this issue of The Pinchot Letter, we explore the ongoing evolution in both the philosophy and the practice


of forest stewardship and the land ethic. Senior Fellow and leading Gifford Pinchot biographer Char Miller examines the tacit understanding that binds together even today’s increasingly urbanized and technology-driven society. It is the Earth’s natural resources that are the fundamental basis for our entire system, and we each have a responsibility to care for the resources that sustain us all. The irony in the supposed conflict between environmental stewardship and economic consumption is that environmentalism is not about saving the planet. The planet and most of its life forms will persist long after the Earth is no longer fit for human habitation. Environmentalism is as much about humans’ responsibility to one another as it is to saving Nature. The two are not separable. They are fundamentally the same. Aldo Leopold biographer Curt Meine takes a fresh look at the land ethic and what Leopold called the “conservation aesthetic,” and how they have evolved since the 1949 publication of A Sand County Almanac. Meine explores the influences of Gifford Pinchot’s conservation philosophy on Leopold, and vice versa, while Leopold was a young forester for the US Forest Service and over the remainder of their parallel lives. In his chapter on “Land Health and the A-B Cleavage,” Leopold differentiates between “group (A)” foresters who are “quite content to grow trees like cabbages, with cellulose as the basic commodity” and “group (B)” foresters who “manage a natural environment rather than creating an artificial one.” Today this is not an either/or proposition. Both are essential as we strive to protect the world’s “last great places,” but also to de-carbonize the world’s economy through a greater reliance on renewable resources and new technological breakthroughs in bioenergy, natural structural materials that are stronger than steel, and the use of nanocellulose for everything from computer screens, to saltwater filters, to body armor. But how has this evolution in forest stewardship and the land ethic affected the everyday practice of forestry in the field? Forest Stewards Guild president Fred Clark explores the dilemmas in which field foresters sometimes find themselves when directed to take actions that, although not legally prohibited, are ethically questionable. His observations have challenging implications for the exercise of individual responsibility, but also for collective action by an ethical profession and the value of professional licensing.


Bob Perschel, president of the New England Forestry Foundation, takes the concept of land stewardship one step further, from sustainably managing an already functional forest ecosystem to restoring those degraded by actions in the past. Recalling the major shift in timberland ownership from forest products companies themselves to a new investor class over the past two decades, he describes how an increased emphasis on near-term financial returns by investors with no stake in long-term resource sustainability has left its signature on the land in New England forests. He looks to a new class of “social investors” with a truly longterm buy-and-hold approach to investing, to help acquire millions of acres of degraded forests and restore them to ecological health and economic viability. Gifford Pinchot III further challenges the impression that corporations and other for-profit organizations must choose between rewarding their investors and contributing to a more


sustainable society. He describes how a new generation of entrepreneurs is connecting the dots differently, and demonstrating that novel approaches and new technologies that advance resource efficiency and environmental sustainability are increasingly in demand, and will reward their innovators in the marketplace of the future. The commemoration of Gifford Pinchot’s birth 150 years ago—and the 25th anniversary of the Grey Towers Protocol—offer opportunities for us to reflect on the conservation ethic at the roots of forestry as it developed in America, and the moral responsibility we share for conservation education and leadership today. Sustaining forests for all their environmental, economic, social, and cultural values in a world soon to be 10 billion people will require continuing improvement in our science, our practice, and in our ethical commitment to the current and future generations. —Al Sample

America’s Great National Forests, Wildernesses, and Grasslands


inchot Institute University Fellow Char Miller has recently completed a new illustrated celebration of our greatest National Forests, from Alaska to Florida. For more than a century, America’s National Forests have proved an environmental gift and cultural treasure, our spectacular backyard. Under the management of the US Forest Service, this system of public lands encompasses 193 million acres of mountains, prairies, rivers, and canyons—much of it undiscovered, but accessible for hiking, kayaking, fishing, and winter sports. Officially published with the US Forest Service, this book features the thirty most notable National Forests—while also celebrating more than one hundred different national forests in forty-four states— from the White Mountains of New Hampshire to the Olympics of Washington. Unlike the national parks, Americans can use these lands for all manner of recreation, truly earning these tremendous resources the moniker of "America’s backyard." Featuring photography by Tim Palmer and a foreword from Bill McKibben, this book is a treasure for all readers who use and cherish these lands. Available at and other booksellers now:




Miller (continued from page 1)

At this most impressionable moment, as Pinchot began to define what it meant to be a forester, he recognized that his future work would entail more than turning timber into board feet. It also carried an aesthetic obligation: to care for the land and its beauty, a conviction he reaffirmed in his hope of seeing how his beloved copper beeches fared a century hence. But then foresters are supposed to be farsighted about how their work in present-day woods will sustain forested environs over time. The future, in short, has rights in the present that the present must respect (just as the present, without knowing it, once had rights over the actions of those living in its past). This reciprocity was a key theme in Pinchot’s undergraduate musings about the nature of his future career. “I had a lively and deep-seated desire to be of use in the world,” he recalled, “and occasional questionings as to whether I could serve best as a minister, doctor, or a forester.”2 Strikingly, each profession


Public Domain

having decided that forestry—a profession hitherto unknown in the United States—was for him, sailed for Europe. Because countries as disparate as England, France, Prussia, and Switzerland had foresters and forestry schools, he headed across the Atlantic to learn what he could from those who taught and practiced the emerging discipline. Everywhere he traveled that next year, he made certain to walk through woodland and forest. One of these tramps led through England’s Windsor Park, where Pinchot came face-to-face with an ancient copper beech; it was, he noted in his diary, “very likely the oldest in the world (1000 or more years).” Its antiquity caught his eye but so did the larger terrain in which it was rooted: “The beautiful shape of the trees, the arrangement of them, the turf, the whole together was simply ideal.”1

Gifford and Cornelia Pinchot at the US Capitol in 1926.

is devoted to the care of others—souls, bodies, or land. Each also looks beyond the moment; its practitioners realizing that the enduring health of parishioners, patients, and ecosystems requires thinking about the long term. As Pinchot observed just before embarking on that life-changing voyage to Europe, his generation served as “trustees for the coming world.”3 They did a pretty good job, too, judging from their environmental accomplishments. After all, this cohort pushed Congress to pass the Forest Reserves Act of 1891, granting the president authority to set aside reserves from the public domain, and the Organic Act of 1897, allowing the active management of these forests. Without this legislation there would have been no Forest

Service or National Forests, which Pinchot, as the first head of the that agency, helped establish in 1905. As presidents from William Henry Harrison to Theodore Roosevelt used their new authorities to expand the reserves (TR alone designated upwards of 150 million acres), other conservationists pressed for the passage of laws such as the Lacey Act (1900), prohibiting the trade in illegally taken wildlife; the Antiquities Act (1906), designed to protect social and cultural artifacts; the Weeks Act (1911), which provided funding to expand the national forest system east of the Mississippi; and the National Park Service’s Organic Act of 1916. These Progressive Era reformers made conservation, conservation; theirs was a profound legacy and an inheritance of immeasurable worth.


“Conservation is not merely a question about business, but a question of a vastly higher duty...”

Pinchot and his conservationist colleagues knew their work must mean more than the simply the protection of natural resources for contemporary consumption. That’s what the newly minted Chief Forester had in mind when he crafted the Forest Service‘s mission; its task was to secure “the greatest good of the greatest number in the long run.” The final four words are the most important—sustainability was then, and remains now, a cross-generational responsibility. That commitment defined his public activism after President William Howard Taft cashiered him in 1910 for insubordination. For the next 35 years, Pinchot contributed— often forcefully—to hot-button conservation debates. Through his work for the National Conservation Association (which he founded and funded), as Commissioner of Forestry in Pennsylvania (1920–22), while running nonstop for elected office (his first campaign kicked off in 1914, his last in 1938), and in countless books, articles, and editorials, Pinchot reaffirmed that conservationists must embrace what he believed was their essential, inescapable moral calling. “Conservation is not merely a question about business, but a question of a vastly higher duty,” he wrote in his aptly titled book, The Fight for Conservation. “If we owe anything to the United States, if this country has


been good to us, if it has given us our prosperity, our education, and our chance of happiness, then there is a duty rising upon us. That duty is to see, so far as in us lies, that those who are coming after us shall have the same opportunity for happiness as we have had ourselves.”4 But we must envision that role for ourselves, Pinchot argued in this and other texts. Arguing bluntly against the effort of private individuals and shadowy syndicates to usurp public ownership of water and coal—“I see no reason why we should deliberately keep on helping to fasten the handcuffs of corporate control upon ourselves for all time merely because the few men who would profit by it most have heretofore had the power to compel it”—he urged restraint and accountability. “It is perfectly clear that one hundred, fifty, or even twenty-five years ago our present industrial conditions and industrial needs were completely beyond the imagination of the wisest of our predecessors,” a reality that was as descriptive of his generation’s situation: “it is just as true that we cannot imagine or foresee the industrial needs or conditions of the future.” This did not release contemporaries from factoring the unknowable into their calculations about the utilization of resources, quite the reverse. Because “our descendants should be left free to meet their own necessities as they arise,” he argued that it could not be right or just to grant “perpetual rights” to critical resources. “It is just as wrong as it is foolish, and just as needless as it is wrong, to mortgage the welfare of our children in such a way as this.”5

out governmental corruption and corporate dominance. Even Pinchot’s rigorous enforcement of prohibition was part of the larger package; because alcohol undercut America’s moral fiber, it robbed the future of its future. It was just such a long view that propelled Gifford and Cornelia Pinchot to plant so many trees on the grounds of Grey Towers, despite knowing they would never live to see the once-bare landscape spring back to life. But they acted on their faith in the world to come and believed that the copper beeches would be a sign of their careful and considered stewardship. I’m not sure what the Pinchots would have thought about their grandsons Gifford III and Peter shimmying down the broad-limbed beech late at night to escape parental oversight, but suspect they would have understood that the future makes use of the past as it sees fit. Senior Fellow Char Miller is the W.M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis at Pomona College. His recent publications include Seeking the Greatest Good: The Conservation Legacy of Gifford Pinchot and America’s Great National Forests, Wildernesses, and Grasslands. References 1 Pinchot, Gifford. Diary, October 22, 1889, Gifford Pinchot Papers, Library of Congress.

Pinchot, Gifford. 1998. Breaking New Ground, 4th Edition. Washington, DC: Island Press. 2


New York World, August 30, 1889.

Pinchot, Gifford. 1910. The Fight for Conservation New York: Doubleday, Page & Company. 4

These ideals drove his legislative agenda during two terms as Pennsylvania’s governor (1923–27; 1931–35). Among the hallmarks of his eight years in office were the boosting of the K-12 budget, securing old-age pensions, signing some of the nation‘s first interstate clean-water laws, expanding the number and size of state forests and parks; he also launched sustained efforts to root






Tracing the Threads of an Evolving Ethic Curt Meine

In December 1939, Pinchot wrote to his erstwhile acolyte. Pinchot was giving thought to writing an account of the early days of the Forest Service—“the story of what we did, what we faced, and why.”1 He had sent off letters to a number of “old timers,” asking them to share their memories and stories. Leopold replied, “I applaud your proposal to write a history of the Service,” but wondered whether “any one book, even from your pen, will capture all the angles of the story, and perhaps a generation or two must elapse before its values can be truly weighed by anyone.”2 What has always impressed me about that exchange, however, is not the details of their recollecting. Rather, it is the spirit in which Leopold, then just shy of his fifty-third birthday, responded to his old boss. He addressed his letter to Pinchot: “Dear Chief ....”




ne of my favorite items in the archives of conservation history is an exchange of letters between Gifford Pinchot and Aldo Leopold, more than three decades after the two American conservation leaders had first met. Pinchot was a generation older than Leopold. Through the largesse of the Pinchot family, Yale University established its Forest School (now the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies) in 1900. Leopold graduated in the Class of 1909 with a master’s degree and joined the ranks of the newly established US Forest Service. Pinchot was then serving as the Service’s first chief. Although their careers would eventually take them both away from the USFS, they would remain in contact, intersecting over the years through various campaigns, conferences, and meetings.

Leopold’s trips to the Rio Gavilan region of the northern Sierra Madre helped shape his thinking about land health.

In understanding the contrasts and conflicts in forestry and conservation history, we often use key figures as proxies for entire philosophies, paradigms, and styles: Pinchot the Wise Use Utilitarian; Muir the Wild Preservationist; Roosevelt the Bull Moose; Leopold the Land Ethicist; Carson the Environmentalist. This can help us to sketch the broad outlines of that history, but it tends to underplay continuity, to overlook the dramatic flow through which our collective conservation consciousness has emerged, evolved, assimilated new perspectives, and come to define new needs. Pinchot’s request to Leopold was more than a call for colorful anecdotes. And Leopold’s greeting in reply revealed more than just a playful deference to his professional elder. It signified that, despite conservation philosophies that had in some ways diverged, Pinchot and Leopold remained collegial allies, engaged in a common and continuing cause.

As the two veteran foresters reconnected, each in his own way was trying to comprehend where the ever-emerging conservation movement had been, and where it was headed. Leopold was increasingly interested in the ethical dimensions of conservation. He understood the dynamic state of ethics in human cultures and communities, and in the grand scheme of human civilization. “Conservation,” he wrote, “viewed in its entirety, is the slow and laborious unfolding of a new relationship between people and land.”3 He held that this “new relationship”—continually informed by science and history, literature and the arts, faith traditions and philosophy—had to define a broader range of human responsibilities, for one another, for future generations, and for other species and non-human nature as a whole. Leopold’s summary view, published as “The Land Ethic” in A Sand County Almanac (1949), expressed his under-


standing of both the substance of an ethic and the process by which ethics develop. “A land ethic... reflects the existence of an ecological conscience, and this in turn reflects a conviction of individual responsibility for the health of the land. Health is the capacity of the land for self-renewal. Conservation is our effort to understand and preserve this capacity.”4 Essential to this redefinition of conservation was Leopold’s ecological understanding of “land” (by which he meant “soil, water, plants, animals, and people”5) as more than a mere economic commodity, but as a living and changing community. Ethics provide guidance for our relationships within community. A land ethic, in Leopold’s view, cannot be handed down from on high; it is “a product of social evolution.” It is not reducible to formal documents or statements (even his), “because nothing so important as an ethic is ever ‘written.’” It is not the invention of any one individual; it “evolve[s] in the minds of a thinking community.” And it is not static, because “evolution never stops.”6

Forest Service... no Forest School... no Aldo Leopold (as least as he came to be known).

“As a global community, we find ourselves searching for new ways to understand our changing human role on a rapidly transforming Earth...”

His own experiences, relationships, reading, data, reason, and intuition led him to push beyond what he saw as the limits of the utilitarian, “wise use” philosophy typically associated with Gifford Pinchot. And therein lies the power and poignancy of his reply to his “Chief:” because Leopold understood himself in the context of a broader community of thinkers, and a developing body of thought, he had no difficulty acknowledging his debt to his elder. And Pinchot had no difficulty appealing to Leopold as a source for his own reflections. No Yale Forest School ... no US Forest Service (at least as they came to exist). No

We can trace such threads of continuity backward through time. Pinchot was, of course, an inheritor himself of connections and convictions. Before him there was, among others, George Perkins Marsh, who wrote in his foundational book Man and Nature (1864): “We have now felled forest enough everywhere, in many districts far too much. Let us restore this one element of material life to its normal proportions, and devise means for maintaining the permanence of its relations to the fields, the meadows and the pastures, to the rain and the dews of heaven, to the springs and rivulets with which it waters down the earth.” Pinchot received a copy of Man and Nature on his twentyfirst birthday (in 1886), and later referred to it as “epoch-making.”7 Marsh had his own sense of a land ethic, his own way to frame our changing notion of our responsibilities. “All Nature is linked together by invisible bonds and every organic creature, however low, however feeble, however dependent, is necessary to the wellbeing of some other among the myriad


In all this, Leopold challenged the dominant ethic that he had inherited as a young forester and conservationist.


In the 1930s, sandhill cranes were rare in Wisconsin. Populations have since made a remarkable recovery and the cranes are once again a regular feature on the landscape that inspired Leopold.



forms of life.”8 And before Marsh, providing a foundation for a global view of environmental change, was the German explorer, naturalist, and polymath Alexander von Humboldt.9 “The noblest and most important result” of scientific study, Humboldt wrote, was “knowledge of the chain of connection by which all natural forces are linked together, and made mutually dependent upon each other.”10 In his epic work Cosmos (originally published 1845–47), von Humboldt aimed to provide nothing less than a coherent view of the universe, the Earth and its community of life, and the comprehending human mind. We humans had the capacity, he held, to perceive “unity in diversity,” to acknowledge “one great whole animated by the breath of life.”11

readers was the Trappist monk, activist, and writer Thomas Merton. In The Catholic Worker in 1968, Merton wrote: “Aldo Leopold brought into clear focus one of the most important moral discoveries of our time. This can be called the ecological conscience. The ecological conscience is centered in an awareness of man’s true place as a dependent member of the biotic community .... He must recognize his obligations toward the other members of that vital community.” Within his own faith tradition, Merton did not hesitate to press the case. “Catholic theology ought to take note of the ecological conscience, and do it fast.”12 Which brings us to the present. As a global community, we find ourselves searching for new ways to understand our changing human role on a rapidly transforming Earth, knowing that this also requires unprecedented change in our human relationships and responsibilities. We can now look back and see Leopold’s words in 1949 marking not only movement beyond an inadequate utilitarianism, but opening new conver-

sations about the global prospects for humans and nature. The thread from von Humboldt to Marsh to Pinchot to Leopold to Merton leads directly to Pope Francis, who in his address to the US Congress on September 24, 2015, cited Merton as “a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.”13 In his landmark encyclical Laudato Si’, the Pope has taken up Merton’s challenge. In “The Land Ethic,” Leopold had stated that “no important change in ethics was ever accomplished without an internal change in our intellectual emphasis, loyalties, affections and convictions.” He expressed frustration that “philosophy and religion [had] not yet heard of [conservation].”14 Now Pope Francis in the encyclical calls for “a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots,

Tom Koerner/USFWS CC BY 2.0

We can also trace such threads of continuity forward through time. Leopold’s expression of the land ethic lay relatively dormant for two decades, until an emerging environmental movement cast his words in a new and more urgent light. Readership of A Sand County Almanac burgeoned. Among its


The Leopold Family Shack: a re-built chicken coop along the Wisconsin River where Leopold, his wife, and children lived close to the land.




Flickr User DebAnne70 CC BY 2.0

“During every week from April to September there are, on the average, ten wild plants coming into first bloom. … No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them. … Tell me of what plant-birthday a man takes notice, and I shall tell you a good deal about his vocation, his hobbies, his hay fever, and the general level of his ecological education.”

concern and affect us all.”15 The word ethic (and its variants) appears twentyseven times in the document; the word responsibility fifty-five times. In framing an “integral ecology” and emphasizing the “urgent need for us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution,”16 the Pope has not only intensified the conversation within his own global institution, but entered into full dialogue with other faith communities and secular organizations. In the encyclical we find a tapestry of thoughts whose threads do include (among so many others) Saint Francis and Alexander von Humboldt, and that connect indigenous belief systems with contemporary science-based land ethics: “Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth.”17

—Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

meaning of conservation is still being forged, the ethic is evolving, our community of concern is expanding. Our differences will hardly disappear. But perhaps they will fade, or be folded in, as we strive to live in right relationship within “our common home.” Curt Meine is a Senior Fellow at the Aldo Leopold Foundation and at the Center for Humans and Nature. His publications include Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work, the first fulllength biography of Aldo Leopold. References G. Pinchot to A. Leopold, 11 December 1939. University of Wisconsin Archives, Aldo Leopold Papers (LP) 3B9, p. 526. Leopold.ALStatesOHTN 1

2 A. Leopold to G. Pinchot, 4 January 1940. LP 3B9, p. 525. 3 Leopold, Aldo. 1940. “Wisconsin Wildlife Chronology,” Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin 5:11, 8-20.

Conservation,” Forest History Today, 4-9. Marsh, George Perkins. 1865. Man and Nature, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action. New York: Charles Scribner. 8

See Walls, Laura Dassow. 2009. The Passage to Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Shaping of America Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


von Humboldt, Alexander. 1858. Cosmos: A Sketch of the Physical Description of the Universe, Vol. 1 New York: Harper & Brothers.



12 Merton, Thomas. 1968. “The Wild Places,” The Catholic Worker 34. Merton’s essay was later reprinted and excerpted several times. See O’Connell, Patrick F., ed. 2013. Thomas Merton: Selected Essays Maryknoll: Orbis Books.

Pope Francis, “Address of the Holy Father,” United States Capitol, Washington, DC. 24 September 2015. speeches/2015/september/documents/papa -francesco_20150924_usa-uscongress.html 13


Leopold, Also. A Sand County Almanac.

Leopold, Aldo. 1949. A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There. New York: Oxford University Press.


5 Leopold, Aldo. 1947. “The Ecological Conscience,” The Bulletin of the Garden Club of America, 45-53.


Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, para. 114.


Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, para. 92.


We come to this moment in time and space from varied places, backgrounds, and traditions. In forging links between a local and intimate land ethic and an emerging Earth ethic,18 we find that, despite differences, we can and must benefit from all sources of wisdom; we can draw vital lessons from our diverse cultural experiences. The human

von Humboldt, Cosmos.


Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac.

Mitchell, Nora J. and Diamant, Rolf. 2005. “The Necessity of Stewardship: George Perkins Marsh and the Nature of 7

Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ of the Holy Father Francis on Care for Our Common Home, para. 14.

Callicott, J. Baird. 2013. Thinking Like a Planet: The Land Ethic and the Earth Ethic. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.





Professional Ethics in Forestry—Serving People while Promoting a Land Ethic Fred Clark


uch like medicine, the professions of forestry and natural resource management bring technical knowledge and skills to the service of society. And, as in medicine, the moral and ethical dimensions that underpin professional practice are always present, even if their implications are not always completely clear. An estimated 11 million private forest owners control 56% of the forestland in the United States. 92% of those owners are considered family forest owners who collectively control 62% of the country’s private forestland.1 For most families forest ownership is a leisure-time pursuit focused around recreation and family-oriented activities. Although they may be very interested in the best outcomes for their lands, the skills, assets, and time required to manage forestland is simply beyond the


Credit Flickr User dbrandsma CC BY NC ND 2.0

“For most families forest ownership is a leisuretime pursuit focused around recreation and family-oriented activities. Although they may be very interested in the best outcomes for their lands, the skills, assets, and time required to manage forestland is simply beyond the ability of most forest owners to acquire.”

ability of most forest owners to acquire. In this environment, forest practitioners play an essential role as a source of trusted expertise. Much like an attorney, a country veterinarian, or a crop consultant, practitioners provide advice, guide owners in decisionmaking, estimate and project growth and income, navigate state and federal programs, and implement practices including timber harvests, tree planting, and silvicultural practices. For those family forest owners committed to sustainable forest stewardship—to leaving the land better than when they found it—the role of the public service forester, industry procurement forester, and the private forest consultant are invaluable. And those professionals have a unique challenge in working with forests and owners with such varied relationships to land.

As in any profession, the engagement between practitioner and client has an important ethical dimension. A key question for any practitioner is: whose interest is being served? In medicine for example, professional societies such as the American Medical Association adopt and enforce codes of practice that protect both the interests of patients or clients and, by extension, the integrity of the profession. The ethical dimensions of professional practice in private forestlands and family forests are multi-faceted and complex, and at times they can seem to be conflicting. The sometimes complementary and sometimes competing interests around private forestland are driven in part by the employment and inherent obligations of professionals. Whose interests should take precedence often depends on the obligations, the relationships,


and to some extent the personal ethics and values of the practitioner. Service foresters working for state or local governments provide valuable services to forest owners, however that service comes with strings—the obligation to protect the interest of taxpayers or the larger social benefits tied to the programs they administer. Likewise, foresters employed by the forest industry may assist owners with a range of activities such as wildlife management or tree planting. However, their obligation is fundamentally tied to the supply needs of a wood products business. Neither of these affiliations prevent positive outcomes from occurring. The most important characteristic of the relationship however is transparency about the interests being represented. Independent foresters (also known as private or consulting foresters) work for and primarily serve the interests of their clients. A truly independent forester has no incentive to favor one government program over another or one forest business over another when advising clients on decisions around forest management.


But how do practitioners resolve their commitments to a land ethic when the needs, desires, or interests of the owners of that land may, or may seem to, run counter to that ethic?

the skills and willingness of practitioners to educate and advocate for sustainable outcomes, outcomes that may actually be in the best interests of a forest owner.

The Forest Stewards Guild is a professional society whose principles include an obligation known as the First Duty Principle. The First Duty Principle states that, “A forester’s or natural resource professional’s first duty is to the forest and its future.” 3 The First Duty principle obliges Guild members to educate, advocate, or if necessary disassociate from situations that would result in unsustainable outcomes.

A practitioner comes to a relationship from a privileged position—not just with technical skills, but presumably with the ability to see potential risks and benefits that would be unknowable to a person lacking such experience. And so for example, an ethical doctor will not write prescriptions for narcotics simply because the patient asks for it. The reasons to deny such a request might rest in equal parts on a duty of care for the health of the patient, an obligation to avoid harm to others or to society, and to protect the integrity of the profession itself.

The ethical obligation to the forest and to the practitioner’s employer do not have to be mutually exclusive. In most situations, skilled, experienced professionals can adhere to both obligations without conflict. In situations where conflicts in these ethics do occur, they can often be resolved with skill, respect, and patience, particularly when all parties are willing to step back to consider broader contexts and longer time horizons. Regardless of where they see their primary allegiance, much depends on

Natural resource professionals may draw on the same considerations to respond to the needs or requests of forest owners. The need to reconcile short-term desires with long-term interests is especially acute in the case of forest owners with limited experience or history of ownership, where the likelihood of unrealistic expectations can be high.

But what obligation do any of these professionals have to advocate for the interests of the land itself? Should it be a responsibility of natural resource practitioners, regardless of their other obligations or the source of their paychecks to ask of themselves, “what is best for the land I am entrusted to manage?”

Credit BLM CC BY 2.0

In the United States, the concepts of land conservation have roots going back to the early 20th Century. Aldo Leopold expanded on the more utilitarian emphasis of conservation with his concept of a Land Ethic. Leopold wrote: “A land ethic, then, reflects the existence of an ecological conscience, and this in turn reflects a conviction of individual responsibility for the health of land.” 2



Oregon Department of Forestry CC BY 2.0


Federal and state agencies, like USDA NRCS and the Oregon Department of Forestry, can help family forest owners access the benefits of a consulting forester through technical and financial assistance programs.

The ability to identify scenarios that are either inherently counter-productive, or for which the short-term benefits may be outweighed by long-term costs is a true test of a professional. Will the cash offer for standing timber today result in a poor-quality forest tomorrow and a decrease in land value that offsets the timber income? Will implementing a longer term plan with more predictable income and expenses, and gradually increasing stocking levels, actually improve the asset value and the pleasurable use of the property for future generations? In most cases the answer will be yes, and when presented with information about those alternatives most owners will choose a course that’s better for their children and the land. Professionals committed to working for the health of land, and serving the best interests of their clients have a powerful opportunity to align those interests through their practice. Establishing trust through honest and transparent dealings, and educating


owners with a skilled assessment of opportunities and threats are foundational steps. The trust that develops from such effective relationships can allow a practitioner to influence sustainable outcomes with families over multiple generations—a highly satisfying experience for both parties. But it also takes effort by both parties to achieve positive outcomes that are good for the land and for people. Practitioners with an overly-rigid paradigm, or who are not attentive to the owner’s long-term interests, will have difficulty developing a fully trusting relationship. Such relationships do not always last. Forest owners primarily motivated by immediate economic returns, or just a simpler notion of land utility that rejects the idea of inherent values in healthy lands, may be unlikely to follow recommendations or invest in conservation practices that do not immediately advance their shortterm goals.

A compounding factor that often drives unsustainable outcomes for forestland even by owners who would otherwise pursue a more conservative approach is a short-term need for income, often triggered by a family crisis.4 When a sale of timber occurs to fulfill such a need, the urgency of the situation may lead to multiple decisions that result in destructive outcomes that reduce the overall value of land. (The same pressures can affect institutional forest owners as well). An ethical practitioner’s role in that case would be to clearly lay out the consequences of a given alternative, to explore other alternatives to achieving short term goals, and if necessary to attempt to mitigate undesirable effects of a less-than-optimal course. For practitioners committed to serving both the interests of land and land owners, there will always be occasions when both interests can not be sustained, at least not fully. In those cases, the professional may need to make a choice about the best course of



These difficult decisions are telling in reflecting values of a professional, and in establishing their reputation. But perhaps the most telling mark of a professional’s success is how often and how fully he can chart an ethical course that brings the interests of forest owners and land health into the same frame.

References Butler, Brett J. 2008. Family Forest Owners of the United States, 2006. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-27. Newtown Square, PA: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 1

2 Leopold, Aldo. 1949. A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There. New York: Oxford University Press. 3 Forest Stewards Guild Mission and Principles. /mission-principles. 4

Tracy Robillard/USDA NRCS CC BY ND 2.0

ethics. Serve the owner’s interests first? Advocate for a different outcome with the owner, and if unsuccessful refuse the work? Both choices are clear expressions of values.

Fred Clark is the Executive Director of the Forest Stewards Guild in Madison, Wisconsin.

Professional foresters help landowners steward their forest for the long term.



Photo: Nastya22/

ver the past 20 years the Pinchot Institute has awarded one-year research fellowships to 23 young conservation professionals, often immediately after completion of their graduate studies in forest resource and environmental conservation. These fellowships provide early-career opportunities to strengthen recent graduates’ professional experience, demonstrate their expertise, and benefit from the mentorship of senior professionals. Research Fellows are paired with senior members of the Pinchot Institute staff, and play an integral role in carrying out conservation programs and projects. Some Research Fellows have transitioned into permanent positions on the Institute’s research staff, while others have gone on to a wide range of leadership positions throughout the conservation community— in government, business, nonprofits and universities. These fellowships help launch conservation careers while bringing fresh ideas, insights, and energy to the Institute. Your support makes it possible for the Institute to continue offering these important career development and mentoring opportunities. Please consider making a tax-deductible gift to the Pinchot Institute’s Research Fellows Scholarship Fund—return the enclosed envelope or donate today at For more information about the Institute’s research fellows or for planned giving information contact Alex Andrus: [email protected] or 202.797.6582.




Breakfast, Ethics, and Forestry in a Changing Climate

Sean Munsin CC BY NC ND 2.0

Robert T. Perschel

The US Forest Service has moved away from timber quotas as the basis for managing its lands. Pictured here: Mount Bond on the White Mountain National Forest.


he 25 years since the publication of the Grey Towers Protocol offers the perspective to ask and attempt to answer three intriguing questions:

What has changed in forest management and what role does an ethical protocol have in fostering change?

Are the ethical standards put forth in the Grey Towers Protocol still relevant in a time of global climate change?

What can be done to foster and encourage improvement in forest management over the next 25 years?

The Grey Towers Protocol was developed in 1990, building on Aldo Leopold’s seminal 1949 essay “The Land Ethic.” The four tenets of the Protocol together posit a moral approach to forestry, focus on ecosystems as the scientific and ethical entity, extend the timeframe to future generations, and finish with a maxim to pass them to the next generation in better condition than when we found them. If one thinks about ethics as an evolving dynamic, as Leopold surely did, then the Protocol claims a key place in the


ferment of ethical investigation in forestry that colored the period 1990–2000. During that period the Society of American Foresters reevaluated and rewrote its code of ethics, the Keystone Center led a major national policy dialogue on ecosystem management, the US Forest Service adopted ecosystem management as its new approach, the Northwest Forest Plan addressed the future management of a great and threatened ecosystem, and the Forest Stewards Guild was founded on Leopoldian ethical principles. It is interesting to note how little climate change entered into any of these discussions. In fact, forest carbon management was not even an objective of the Northwest Forest Plan—a remarkable historical fact considering the intensity and breadth of attention that was given to the future of this ecosystem and the flurry of incentive programs and management advice related to carbon only a few years later. In hindsight the 1990’s can be considered a flowering in ethical thinking regarding ecosystems as well as a transition period between a first and second wave of environmentalism. Baird Callicott posits that the first wave of environmental crisis was about pollution and resource

depletion, which are spatially circumscribed and temporally oriented to solutions over the span of a human lifetime. The second wave confronts climate change, and this makes the scope of our concerns global.1 In the 1990’s, while the world was just beginning to develop an awareness of the challenges of global climate change, the forestry community was busy responding to the ecosystem-based ethic Leopold had published forty years previously. While forty years may seem like a long time, the field of study now known as environmental ethics was actually only developed in the 1970’s. So from that perspective we might admire Leopold for being well ahead of his time, and regard forestry’s eventual response to Leopold’s new land ethic as actually quite rapid. This response lag between a new ethical way of conceiving of a resource and its expression and integration into the relevant professions becomes important as we consider the next ethical evolution—one that addresses climate change. How long will it take to implement an on-the-ground management response? If it is true that most lasting social change is anchored in a deep moral


imperative then the ethical progress of the 1990’s, including the Grey Towers Protocol, should have resulted in new ways of managing our forests. We can look back at public lands, family forest ownerships, and industrial forest land holdings to gauge how management has changed over 25 years. On public lands, particularly the National Forests, there has been a definite movement away from timber quotas as the basis for line officer accountability and organizational advancement. Budget approvals and accountability to Congress also shifted away from timber yields. Most obviously the actual timber cut went down drastically, from 10 BBF in FY 1990 to 2.4 BBF in FY 2014, a clear signal that other ecosystem values were taking priority and thinking was shifting toward managing for ecosystem health.2 Given the millions of individual family forest owners across the country, the management changes on private lands are more difficult to measure, but there are ways to gauge trends. The development of water quality Best Management Practices for each state and the high rates of implementation of these standards signal improvement in management practices. Over the last ten years the adoption of guidelines for wood biomass harvesting for renewable energy also signals an ability to develop new safeguards in response to changing environmental pressures. The increased training and ethical direction through professional organizations like the Society of American Foresters and Forest Stewards Guild helps make well-qualified professional practitioners available to landowners. Landowner surveys consistently tell us that producing timber for wood products is not a primary management objective for family forest owners.3 Apparently, these owners have internalized some of the diverse objectives of ecosystem management, such as wildlife management and aesthetic beauty. However, what actually happens on the ground is a different story.


Nationwide the number of landowners who use a qualified forester when planning a timber harvest hovers around 20%, so professional scientific training and ethical perspectives often do not come into play.4 On the positive side, the growth and maturation of the land trust movement has gotten more citizens involved in conserving local landscapes. Hundreds of local land trusts offer new ways to communicate with and involve family forest landowners in conservation and forestry. Although many land trusts started strictly as land protection organizations, they are incorporating the need for professional forest management and communicating the importance of forestry to other landowners and the general public. In New England the New England

Forestry Foundation is joining with the American Forest Foundation and a collaboration of land trusts in the MassConn Sustainable Forest Partnership to pioneer new ways to communicate with and educate landowners, and our early pilot projects are showing results. Over the last 25 years integrated forest products companies have largely divested themselves of commercial timberlands in the US. The timberland investment organizations (TIMOs) and real estate investment trusts (REITs) that purchased the lands manage forest primarily for near-term financial objectives. Enough time has passed to begin evaluating the effect of this change in ownership on management practices, ecosystem values, and consistency with

The Grey Towers Protocol


he Grey Towers Protocol established a set of guiding principles for forest managers, based on the “moral imperative” of land stewardship. It also came to define in the minds of many the values, mission, and purposes of the Pinchot Institute. The Grey Towers Protocol was the outcome of a two-day symposium held at Grey Towers in November 1990, in conjunction with the centennial of the Forest Reserve Act of 1891. It was published by the Pinchot Institute in 1991 as a book entitled Land Stewardship in the Next Era of Conservation, and is available from the Pinchot Institute in print and at



Fritz Flohr Reynolds CC BY SA 2.0


The state wildflower of New Hampshire, the pink lady’s slipper often takes years to progress from seed to mature, blooming plant.

the Grey Towers Protocol. We hope this reporting will begin soon. In northern New England, where more than 20 million acres have changed hands since 1980, it is difficult to evaluate trends in forest management. Data from the USFS Forest Inventory and Analysis Program can be used to compare the changes to the forest over time and in comparison to the other managed lands we do have information on. However, most of the detailed data is private and proprietary. Although our evidence remains anecdotal and spotty, the New England Forestry Foundation is concerned these lands are entering a downward spiral of ecologically unsound management that is not well-aligned with the needs of a carbon-challenged world. Periodically NEFF is involved in forest land sales either through our own interest in adding to our current ownership portfolio or as potential holder of new conservation easements. These properties invariably have forest stocking levels of 10–14 cords per acre. For comparison, the Maine Bureau of Public Lands maintains an average of 22–25 cords per acre.5 On our 150 NEFF fee-owned properties scattered across New England our stocking level averages 22 cords per acre, similar to other historically wellmanaged private holdings. Clearly, the


investment-owned lands that we are aware of are being managed differently. If this is a trend then vast acreages clearly are not being left in better condition than when they were acquired. From a land ethics perspective there are two things we can do to change this downward spiral. The first is to return to our ethical base. Leopold’s Land Ethic and the Grey Towers Protocol are based on ecosystems and ecosystem health. But global climate change shifts our concerns. Our current ethic is spatially localized and temporally aligned with human

“Our current ethic is spatially localized and temporally aligned with human lifetimes. Climate change necessitates an ethic that is global in scope and encompasses many more future generations.”

lifetimes. Climate change necessitates an ethic that is global in scope and encompasses many more future generations. Fortunately, philosopher and Leopold scholar Baird Callicott has built upon an early and unpublished Leopold paper to suggest how the land ethic can be updated to meet these global and generational concerns. In order to meet the challenge of climate change from a forestry perspective we need to be equipped with an environmental ethic that is commensurate with its spatiotemporal scale.6 This change would shift, among other management criteria, our concern for stocking levels from a measurement of localized ecosystem sustainability to one of carbon management in a global system. The second ethical challenge is to address the lack of prescriptive direction in the Land Ethic, the Grey Towers Protocol, or a potential new Earth Ethic. In the world of ethical study these types of ethics are classified “moral theory” ethics and as such are criticized for lacking a basis for action, evaluation, and accountability.7 This limitation is apparent in the maxim to “leave the forest in better condition than when we found it”. How do we determine that? Is forestry sustainable when harvest cycles keep stocking levels at little more than 10–14 cords per acre? Is that kind of management addressing the carbon sequestration issues of global climate change? If there is no specificity in our ethic or associated management standards, then almost any kind of long term management is acceptable and much of our management clearly will not meet the challenges of carbon-constrained future. In order to help with this issue NEFF has initiated a project to identify clear measureable outcomes for the management of our own lands, to evaluate them, and adjust them to meet the challenge and ethical imperative of global climate change. Addressing these ethical challenges is important, but is only part of the solution to changing forest management over the next 25 years to help



2 USDA Forest Service Cut and Sold Reports, ment/products/sold-harvest/cut-sold.shtml 3 Butler, Brett J. 2008. Family Forest Owners of the United States, 2006. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-27. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 72 p. 4 Van Fleet, T., D.B. Kittredge, B.J. Butler, and P. Catanzaro. 2012. “Reimagining Family Forest Conservation: Estimating Landowner Awareness and Their Preparedness to Act with the Conservation Awareness Index.” Journal of Forestry 110 (4): 207-215. 5 FY 2014 Annual Report to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry: Maine Public Reserved, Nonreserved, and Submerged Lands, 2015. Augusta, ME: Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Bureau of Parks and Lands. 35 p. 6 Callicott, J. Baird. 2013. Thinking Like a Planet. Oxford,UK: Oxford University Press. 374p. 7 Ethics for a Small Planet: A Communication Handbook on the Ethical and Theological Reasons for Protecting Biodiversity. 2002. Madison, WI. The Biodversity Project. 144p. 8 Meine, Curt. 1988. Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. 676 p.

Well-managed forests provide many benefits like clean drinking water. Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire.

Jonathan Moreau CC BY NC ND 2.0

Nicholas A. Tonelli CC BY 2.0

and sustain forest carbon stocks, ecological values, and higher timber yields, private forest owners will need other sources of income from their woodlands in the next 20–30 years. Carbon markets will help, but we need much more innovative and creative financial models. That is why NEFF is working with our partners in the Maine Mountains Collaborative to investigate how private philanthropic funding targeted toward low rates of returns might seed long-term forest management that meets our ethical responsibilities. When A flowering perennial with a notorious odor, the eastern skunk cabbage is an early sign of spring warmth. we get the ethics and the economics right at the same address climate change. Ethics can lead time we will have the kind of forests we to better management but it is doubt- can truly pass along in better condition ful it will do so if the economics of than we found them. land ownership isn’t also addressed. Leopold reminded us that, “breakfast Bob Perschel is the Executive Director comes before ethics” to help us put of the New England Forestry things in perspective.8 TIMOs, REITs, Foundation in Littleton, MA. and family forest landowners simply will not be able to follow ethical imperReferences atives if the economics of forest management do not support them. In order 1 Callicott, J. Baird. 2013. Thinking Like a to increase stocking levels on a prop- Planet. Oxford,UK: Oxford University erty from 12 cords per acre to 22 cords Press. 374p.




The Business of Sustainability Gifford Pinchot III


usiness is the dominant institution of our times. When I was a kid, nuns ran hospitals; now big corporations do. When I was a kid, idiosyncratic families owned newspapers; now a few big corporations own most of the media. When I was a kid, legislators wrote laws; now lobbyists do. In the last 70 years, big business and the morality of profit above all else took over the direction of our society. Now that is changing. For civilization to survive, it must change. Thank God for Pope Francis. Why Relating to Business Matters A revolution is beginning in the way in which society is addressing climate change and other environmental ills. This revolution is expanding to address poverty. These issues have traditionally been addressed by non-profits and government, with business reacting to the pressures put on them by regulations, protests, and customer preferences. Now coming from within business itself we see more intrinsic drive and proactive progress in addressing climate change and other ills.

1.Will it happen because non-profits beat on business and tell business how bad it is? 2. Will it happen because government forces business to change by telling it what to do? Pressure from both governments and non-profits is essential, but it is not enough. Those who would change business from the outside must understand what is going on inside. Inside every large corporation there is a struggle for the soul of the firm occurring between those who want their work to help conserve the vitality of society and the planet and those who believe their responsibility is solely to shareholders’ financial interests. Many conservationists, social justice advocates and environmentalists underestimate both the amount of intrinsic motivation to work for

sustainability inside business and the critical role of that motivation in solving today’s major problems. Wholesale condemnation of business is not helping. We need to distinguish between leaders and laggards in the move toward operationalizing a broader view of the responsibilities of business. Sustainability Innovators Pinchot University1 student Kevin Maas and his brother Daryl were concerned about family farms going out of business and the impact of farms on pollution and climate change. Farm Power, their company, addresses these problems by ending a major source of pollution and by generating electricity from cow manure instead of coal.2 In modern dairy farming, manure is flushed out of barns into artificial lakes called lagoons. Methane bubbles out of the lagoons, contributing to climate change. Pollutants in the manure

The way business provides for human needs today produces pollution, global warming, and exhaustion of resources. Because production happens in business, change must occur there. But how is that to happen?


Bob Nichols, USDA NRCS

Much of our way of life is unsustainable; it must be reinvented. Business has an important role in this reinvention. The volume of innovation needed to create a sustainable society cannot be accomplished without enthusiastic sustainability creativity within business.

Manure lagoons can contaminate surface water and emit methane, contributing to climate change.


percolate down into the groundwater, polluting neighbors’ wells. In heavy rains, the lagoons overflow, contaminating both shellfish and finfish downstream. The EPA fines the farmers and demands major capital improvement projects they cannot afford. As a result dairy farms go out of business. Farm Power’s first project was a giant manure digester that took the manure from 2000 cows, collected the methane, and used it to generate 700 kilowatts of continuous power. This was enough to power 400 homes. The project was profitable and so investors put up another $5 million to fund a second manure digester/generator project. This time they added a greenhouse to use the waste heat from the generator. That one was also profitable and investors funded another. Farm Power has now finished their fifth and is generating 4.5 megawatts of continuous power. This story illustrates an important principle. The Maas brothers were inspired to address several social problems (farms going out of business, pollution, and climate change). They found out how to make it profitable to do so. The motivation that drove their


“If we are to build a sustainable world, profit should be one, but not the only, objective of a business.”

470,000 cars off the road each year. This isn’t happening because of some government regulation. It is happening because people all over the company step forward with ideas for reducing the company’s climate impact. It is happening because many people inside the company care deeply about climate change, health, biodiversity, and poverty.

creativity was to find a way to make a living that contributes to their community, their industry, and their planet. This is not the heartlessness that many see as the character of business. It illustrates an important role for business in transforming our society from unsustainable ways of providing what humans need to more nearly sustainable ones.

Will this be enough? Can we trust industry to self regulate? Nothing that any one sector of the economy is doing is enough. We are headed toward a tipping point in climate change that will cause flooding and droughts that interrupt our food supply. We are poisoning the land and the ocean. We are letting the gap between rich and poor grow to the point where the social contract frays and civilization descends into internal conflict. We are not doing enough!

Sabrina Watkins, another of Pinchot University’s graduates, is the head of sustainable development for a major oil company. Each year her group orchestrates the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to about a million tons of CO2. Most of those savings are permanent. It’s the equivalent of taking

Under current legal framework, business will not make all the changes needed. There are many things that need to be done that are too expensive and have too little benefit to the company for a publicly traded company to do them. They are required by law to maximize profits.3

Stephanie Page/Oregon Department of Agriculture CC BY NC ND 2.0

The fact that under the current circumstances business will not do enough to self-regulate does not mean that a blanket condemnation of big business will produce the changes environmentalists and social justice activists desire. Rather, environmental and social justice organizations need to find their allies inside corporations and work together to find ways that corporations can do more good. They need to push businesses to lobby not against sustainability, but for it.

Manure digesters are a source of renewable energy that reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and protect water quality.

Governments need to find ways to create “force fields” that push corporations to innovate in the direction of sustainability without telling them exactly what to do. Too much regulation can freeze innovation at the level of technology that existed when the law




was framed. A good “force field” simply rewards steps toward sustainability and punishes continued waste, pollution, and contributions to poverty.

CEO of Patagonia, says that the benefit corporation creates the legal framework for firms like his to remain true to their social goals.5

A carbon tax Those who work for more sustainable practices within corporations desperately need a stiff carbon tax to make doing the right thing more profitable or more nearly profitable. More and more companies back a carbon tax because they know any additional costs they face will also be faced by their competitors.

Thirty states and the District of Columbia now have enacted legislation to allow benefit corporations to form and to make decisions on what is called the triple bottom line, to benefit people and the environment as well as to make a profit.6

Every major publicly traded oil company now has an internal carbon tax. When an investment decision is made a project is credited for any carbon emissions reduced and charged for any increases. As a result, they are making investment decisions as if a government-imposed carbon tax already exists. They are getting ready for government to act. A carbon tax is the most obvious way in which government can act to speed progress toward a sustainable world. Taxes on other harmful emissions also make sense.

The B-Corp is a type of benefit corporation certified by the non-profit B Lab. B Corps have a specific social or environmental mission and pass a rigorous 3rd-party test of their contribution to causes other than profit. This movement is growing rapidly. According to B Lab, there are now 1,442 “certified B Corporations” across 130 industries in 42 countries.”7 Business is changing Business was not always guided only by profit. Many family-owned businesses have always had broader objectives. The sense of broader responsibility

declined in the 1980s and profit became king. Now that belief is in decline. Thus far thirteen of the largest companies in the US have made the Obama Administration’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge: Alcoa, Apple, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Cargill, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, PepsiCo, UPS, and Walmart. Change is happening.8 Let’s all help business to change even more rapidly—sometimes by protesting, sometimes by legislating, but also by celebrating the progress they make. Let’s work together to find solutions. Sure, let’s create better laws and fix the economic system, but also stop blaming business for doing what the system demands. We all have work to do. Gifford Pinchot III is the founder and president emeritus of Pinchot University, formerly the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, in Seattle, Washington.

Benefit corporations put their social purposes in their bylaws and advise investors in advance that the management will guide their decisions toward a mix of benefits including both profit, the environment, and the wellbeing of society.4 Yvon Chouinard, founder and


Minnesota Solar Challenge CC BY NC 2.0

Benefit Corporations Standard corporate law mandates that corporations must manage to maximize profit, and the perspective tends to be short term. Clearly this is not in the interests of sustainability. If we are to build a sustainable world, profit should be one, but not the only, objective of a business. Without creativity in the business sector motivated not just by money but also by a desire to solve the big social problems of our times, civilization is doomed. Now there is a new form of business organization that gets around the legal requirement to manage only for profit.



References Sustainably managed forests enhance the resiliency of ecosystems and can stimulate local economies in timber country while sequestering carbon in long-term wood products.

Pinchot University, an independently accredited degree-granting institution, is not affiliated with the Pinchot Institute for Conservation. 1


eBay Domestic Holdings, Inc. v. Newmark, 16 A.3d 1, 11 (Del. Ch. 2010). 3

4 13/assessing-the-benefits-of-a-benefitcorporation/ 5 21542432 6


Tony Hisgett CC BY 2.0


Gifford Pinchot to be inducted into World Forestry Center Leadership Hall


he World Forestry Center and the Pinchot Institute for Conservation are pleased to announce that the World Forestry Center will induct Gifford Pinchot into its Leadership Hall. Pinchot’s ethic of “the greatest good, for the greatest number, in the long run” still resonates 150 years after he was born. Gifford Pinchot’s Leadership Hall Induction will support the Research Fellows Program of the Pinchot Institute as well as the forest education program of the World Forestry Center. The Pinchot Institute and the World Forestry Center partner to advance sustainable forestry research and education. The Leadership Hall of the World Forestry Center was established in 1971 to honor those who have made significant and meaningful contributions to the advancement of forestry. The Hall celebrates the history of the world’s forests and the men and women who have made significant and meaningful contributions to the advancement of the forestry sector in business, government, or education. More information about this opportunity to recognize Gifford Pinchot’s groundbreaking work as America’s First Forester is available at:




Inside the Institute

Dear Friends and Colleagues: fter 20 years leading the Pinchot Institute for A Conservation, I retired at the end of 2015. With a strong set of conservation programs and a passionately committed staff, the Institute is well positioned for continued success and leadership in the field of environmental and natural resources policy. I too will continue my lifelong commitment to conserving and sustaining forests, and their many contributions to the world’s environmental health and wellbeing, as a Senior Fellow at the Institute and through continuing work with other public, private, and nonprofit conservation organizations.

Al Sample at the Leopold Family Shack in 2015.

Like any significant accomplishment, what has been done to build the Pinchot Institute from an idea into an internationally known and respected conservation organization has been the work of many hands. It has been my privilege and honor to work with a diversity of individuals who have devoted their energy and intellect to the search for genuine solutions to the challenges of environmental stewardship and the sustainable use of renewable natural resources. I could not have done this without the support and encouragement of board members past and present, staff members who were passionate enough about what they were accomplishing to work far harder than I ever would have asked, and conservation policy entrepreneurs who helped truly make the Pinchot Institute “an incubator for innovation and a catalyst for change.” From my first day leading the Pinchot Institute, I have taken very seriously my charge to advance the conservation legacy of Gifford Pinchot. With the help of scholars and historians whose research has given me a richer and deeper understanding of the values that drove his social activism as well as his fight for conservation, I have been inspired daily to work toward science-driven conservation policies that are environmentally sound, but also economically viable and socially responsible. I look forward to future opportunities to continue working with friends and colleagues in the development of innovative approaches to the world’s conservation challenges. Conservation that brings about “the greatest good, for the greatest number, in the long run” in the 21st century will require innovations that were unimaginable in Pinchot’s day. I hope that the Pinchot Institute will always be the kind of organization that creates an environment conducive to creativity and independent thought, and produces the kind of innovations that will be essential to the sustainability of humanity and the natural world in the decades ahead. Best wishes,





In Memoriam: Jack Ward Thomas 1934–2016


ack Ward Thomas, renowned scientist, prolific writer, and 16th Chief of the US Forest Service passed on May 26th. Thomas began his career with the Forest Service in 1966 as a research wildlife biologist. Among his many accomplishments, he will be remembered for elevating science above all in bringing solutions to our natural resource conservation challenges. As Chief from 1993 to 1996, he guided the agency through the tumult leading to the development of the Northwest Forest Plan, and along the way ushered in more holistic thinking and the transition to ecosystem management on the National Forest System. Thomas published more than 400 books, chapters, and articles on wildlife biology and ecology, and how to apply this knowledge in landuse planning and management. Perhaps above all he will be remembered for his optimism, sense of humor, and storytelling. The Pinchot Institute joins all who knew Jack, both personally and through his legacy, in celebrating the life of a remarkable person.




Pinchot Institute for Conservation Supporters The Pinchot Institute thanks the following supporters for their generosity since January 1, 2015. We gratefully acknowledge the numerous donors who have made annual gifts of $100 or more to become Pinchot Associates. $100,000 and more

D.N. Batten Foundation Lora L. and Martin N. Kelley Family Foundation MacArthur Foundation Meyer Memorial Trust Rasmussen Family Foundation USDA Forest Service USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service William Penn Foundation $50,000–$99,999

Prince Albert of Monaco II Foundation $20,000–$49,999

University of California, Berkley $5000–$19,999

The Conservation Fund The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University E.On Jackson F. and Carol Eno Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund International Energy Agency MeadWestvaco Corporation National Fish and Wildlife Foundation National Association of University Forest Resource Programs Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Rotary Club of Sebastopol Society of American Foresters Sustainable Forestry Initiative Thomas B. Williams Paul and Elaine Wilson $1000–$4,999

Thomas Beddard C. Austin and Meg Buck James and Roberta Grace J. Robert and Carolyn Hicks Thomas and Kate Kirkwood Lady Moon Farms Kenneth and Lee Klipstein The Lyme Timber Company Malcolm and Judy McAlpin Wolfried and Anita Mielert The Nature Conservancy Nicholas and Maggie Niles Norcross Wildlife Foundation F. Pendleton


Peter R. & Cynthia K. Kellogg Foundation Larry and Christine Quinn Stanton Smith-Cazaly Kenneth and Nancy Warren $500–$999

American Forest Foundation Sherry Austin B. Bruce Bare Joseph and Joyce Berry Dr. Garry D Brewer Bobette Campbell Vicki Christiansen Lawrence T Hoyle, Jr. Paul Labounty Harold and Gail Steen Dr. Douglas W. Tallamy Phillip Wang $100–$499

Nicole Adler Edward Aldworth G. Lester Alpaugh Rolf D. Anderson Diane Anderson Daina D. Apple Marci Baker Dale N. Bosworth Joseph Bower Dr. Dick Bury Tracy R. Cate Davis and Judy Chant Jaime Chavez Dr. Antony Cheng Dr. Purnell W. Choppin Lyman B. Coddington Bertram J. Cohn Carol R. Collier Kent and Sue Connaughton DeNise Cooke-Bauer Arthur W. and Jean F. Cooper Dr. Hanna J. Cortner Pierre Daniel Beltrán Couissin Andrea Daly Mark Darrach Alice and Lincoln Day Soraya Delgado Rolf Diamant and Nora Mitchell Joshua Dickinson Harold M. Draper Edward Duncombe Alex Dunn Pete Epanchin Fred Ernst

Maria Fadiman Michael Ferrucci Bob and Anne Fledderman John Fox George Frame Meg Gittings James Golden and Susan Skalski Randolph A. Gregory Victoria Glover-Ward Richard and Linda Guldin Dr. Frederick B Hendricks, MD Rob Hendricks Gary R. Hines Terry W. Hoffman Nels C. Johnson and Eileen Bedall Ken Johnson Vanessa Joyce William P. Kiger Ebbe Larsen Douglas and Marian Leisz Mr. and Mrs. William Lovejoy Thomas E. Lovejoy Doug and Ruth Ann MacCleery Joe Mancias, Jr. David McIntyre Hugh C. Miller, FAIA Michael Moore Wade and Susan Mosby Robert K. Musil John Myers Suzanne Nathans Danny Norman Irem Sepil Oz James P. Perry Dr. John E. Phelps Dr. Richard and Rita Porterfield Ethan Ramirez Reardon Reardon Lisa Riley Kirk Rodgers Abigail Rome V. Alaric Sample and Dory Herman-Sample Nishiki Sano Melani Schaab Jeff Sirmon David W. M. Smith Richard L. Snyder Howard Spindler Susan M. Stedfast and David S. Shillman Allison Stewart Barbara Stewart Gary Sturdivant Tcruz Brothers Robin Thompson


Suzanne Tomassi Mary Evelyn Tucker Douglas G. Turner Mark C. Vodak M. Carter Wall R. Scott Wallinger Benjamin Wang Waterwheel Cafe, Bakery & Bar Allan and Joyce West Rick Weyerhaeuser John P. White Lissa Widoff Corey Woodley Rodney Young Up to $100

Christian Altenhofen Caitlyn Ballew Gregory Barnes William Barnes Rhoda and Phil Barr Alina Bartell Kimberlee Benart Rory Berger Anish Bhatt John Boeschen Bernard Bovell Lance and Jessica Boyer Brett Brown Bruce Byers Sammy Campbell Chris Castleberry Reina Clifton Tristan Cole Sally Collins Darlene D. Dalbec Caroline Dingle Angee Doerr Alan Dolge Karen Dorton Gilbert Dreschke Allison Dunham Deborah Edelman Jonathan Epp Margot Fahey Anthony Falez Kait Farrell Sarah Fernandez Linda Fitterer-Finley Melissa Floyd Christine Fotheringham John and Marlies Fry Brenton Gill Pam Godsell David M. Goldberg The Golden Nest Egg, PLLC Carolina Gomez Natalie Graham Eric Groft Heather Haberle Julie F. Hale


Jake Hallquist Dr. Gary Hartshorn Genevieve Helbo Jose Hidalgo Wendolyn Hill Jonathan Howard Rita Hudetz Brian Hutchinson Andrea Izurieta M. Alexander Jurkat Sabine Juschkat Esther Keijser Susi Koplitz Dave Kramer Bruce and Carolyn Krejmas David Lash Paul Lenoue Karen Levy Dick R. Little Erin Lloyd Mark Lorenz Simon Ludwig Nancy Mac William Manner Erin Marnocha Jessica Marsh Arnaud Martin Catherine Mason Michel Maupoux Michael McCarthy Andre McCoy Amy McDermott Candice McLaughlin Lynn Meissner Teresa Michelsen Borja Mila Deniz Milasli Char Miller Ute Moll Susan Moller Julian Moll-Rocek John Molomby Saba Mustafa Charles Newlon Roberta W. O’Dell Caitlyn Peake Mark Pittroff Kelley Puglisi Ethan Ramirez Dan Rathgeber Paul Ries Martin Rocek Danya Rose Rachel Rosenblum Laura Sampson Kathy Schneider Sarah Schoen Pamela Schreier Sarah Schuman Michael Scialpi Ginna Senn

Samantha Shattuck Jozua Sijsling Will Simons Norma Smihal Mary Snieckus Kathryn Spector Mick and Barbara Spitalnick Richard Sportsman Kim Stephan Barbara Stewart Frank Swancara, Jr. Anne Tang Burton Thelander, Jr. Suzanne Tomassi Mark and Karen Tozzi Felipe Vallejo Rebecca Vendetti Lily Verdone WM Steiner Voigt Bradley Walker Harriet Wentz Mele Wheaton Erin Wiancko Stephen A. Wider Sharon Wieck Linda Williams Bob Winterbottom Shaye Wolf Corey Woodley Brooke Wright Stephanie Yelenik

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Noer J. Arvizu Jessica Chase John J. Coyle Shayla Degetaire Dominic P. Dial Mary Elder Chris Farley Jeffrey Hyman Michael J. Kramer Tyler Krauskopf David A. Long Stephen Loring Brock McNaughton Caylem D. Nune Larson Palsis William L Robertson Jeremy Shelton David Shillman Kenneth Thomas Justin Volk Steven Winnett *The amount of individual CFC donations are not disclosed to the recipients.


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Forest Conservation in the Anthropocene SCIENCE, POLICY, AND PRACTICE Edited by V. Alaric Sample, R. Patrick Bixler, and Char Miller


orest Conservation in the Anthropocene provides thought-provoking insight on the ongoing environmental and climatological crises of climate change, questioning how it will alter North America's forested regions and how public and private land managers will adapt to the climatological disruptions that are already transforming the ecological structures of these forests. In this path-breaking anthology, a team of leading environmental scientists probes the central dilemmas that ecologists, forest land managers, state and federal agencies, and grassroots organizations are confronting—and will continue to confront—in the coming century. In each chapter they examine strategies that are currently being tested across the country as researchers, citizen-scientists, policymakers, academics, and activists work to grasp their options and opportunities for a future that will be shaped by ongoing environmental upheaval. Successful adaptation to the challenges of climate change requires a transdisciplinary perspective. Forest Conservation in the Anthropocene provides a compelling set of arguments and case studies that underscore the need for innovative policies and actions. The book will be of great interest to students, scholars, and professionals in environmental science, forestry, and ecology.

“[This volume] addresses a very urgent issue ... [and] needs to be read by everyone who is engaged in forest conservation and management.” — Ian Spellerberg, Lincoln University Now available at and other booksellers.