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Why We Partner


A photo of close up of a Forest Service employee showing a tiny bat skull and a magnifying glass to a young girl. The girl is wearing a paper crown with a paper bat hanging off of it.

Nancy Ross, director of renewable resources for the Forest Service’s Eastern Region, shares a bat skull with a visitor at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center during the Wisconsin Bat Festival in Milwaukee. Photo Credit: U.S. Forest Service photo by Cynthia M. Sandeno

Partners are Essential 

The fundamental mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The challenges to this mission have gotten significantly more complex: climate change, population growth, shrinking habitats, increasing demand for access, and development pressures require a new way of working.

Partnerships are at the very core of how the U.S. Forest Service does business.  They address mutual interests on a range of topics as broad as the agency mission itself. That mission includes overseeing the nation’s 193 million acres of National Forests and Grasslands, working with States, Tribes, domestic and international community groups, and nonindustrial private landowners to help sustain healthy forests and protect the environment.  Thus, there are partnerships that address almost every aspect of land management, scientific research and policy related to forests.  This collaboration means that communities—and their perspectives—are incorporated into the work. The relationships that develop with partners ensure that the Forest Service is pursuing the right work in the right place at the right time.

Partnerships also help the Forest Service complete its work by leveraging in kind contributions or funding to high-priority projects and areas of interest.  Since the founding of the agency, partnerships have made significant contributions to our nation’s natural resource management and will continue to do so –across all levels of government, across international boundaries, in underserved communities and with the non-profit and private sectors.

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