Much has changed since the College of Forestry first launched the Institute for Working Forest Landscapes (IWFL) in 2013. The world has faced myriad disruptions and our forests were not immune. We have lived through historic wildfires, drought, unprecedented weather extremes and a growing number of insect and disease outbreaks. We are also faced with increasing political and social division and policy issues impacting the forest sector.
As a sector, we have much to offer. But we find ourselves vulnerable and exposed. We must strive to be robust, resilient and equitable. Now, more than ever, we need intentionality in order to be relevant, impactful and science focused. We need to push against the tide of polarization and propel forestry to the forefront of conservation and into the solution space for climate change. We need to stand firmly and squarely against misinformation, oversimplification and the devaluation of science and knowledge.
How do we do all that? As part of the College of Forestry’s 2023-2027 strategic plan, the Center for the Future of Forests and Society (CFFS) will enable us to fund research and conduct science outreach with realistic goals for what can be accomplished over the next 10 years. We will prioritize efforts that bring together an inclusive array of minds, strategies and knowledge to collaboratively address complex issues we cannot solve in isolation. Together, through the CFFS, we will promote interdisciplinary science, interwoven with Traditional Ecological Knowledge and other ways of knowing, to holistically address the challenges we are facing both in Oregon and across the globe.
The following will guide the actions we take as the Center for the Future of Forests and Society:
- Vision – our reality by 2030: Thriving forest ecosystems, economies, and communities in Oregon and beyond.
- Mission – the work we do: To advance systems-based science and knowledge to ensure the resiliency of our forests, inform sustainable forest management practices and positively impact society.
- Purpose – why we do this work: To ensure forests provide for societal and ecological well-being.
- Values – our code of conduct:
• Forward Thinking
The director of CFFS is Michael Nelson.