“The Forest Service is overstating its wildfire prevention progress to Congress despite decades of warnings not to”
“’Total acres is a measure that is commonly understood and accepted,’ said Forest Service spokesperson Wade Muehlhof. ... But legislators and oversight agencies have been pushing the Forest Service since the early 2000s to shift its focus to tracking progress in ways that better reflect how risk is reduced. …
“For years, pretty much everyone in the system has been saying this [main] measurement is not good enough, and we think we can do better,” said Courtney Schultz, a professor of forest and natural resource policy at Colorado State University who has conducted research with the agency on fire risk reduction. But the shift away from it has yet to happen. With all the new investment from Congress, she said, “now is the time to do that.”
Professor Schultz Testifies for U.S. Senate Committee Hearing
On June 7th, Dr. Schultz testified for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry’s Subcommittee on Conservation, Climate, Forestry, & Natural Resources to discuss CSU’s extensive work related to climate change.
“Schultz highlighted potential solutions that can be implemented to confront the severity of the climate crisis. Some of the solutions Schultz listed included increasing funding for climate adaptation research and more U.S. Department of Agriculture climate hub partnerships. … She also urged the federal government to find partnerships in communities in order to find and implement solutions, and pointed to things being done already on private lands.”
Did you know? This is not the first time Dr. Schultz has testified for a Congressional committee! You can watch a recording of her previous testimony here.
Read about the Climate Adaptation Partnership in CSU Magazine
“Across the extraordinary breadth of disciplines at CSU, the work required to deliver hope to future generations is taking shape through a team examining the consequences and opportunities that come with living with climate change.”
The Climate Adaptation Partnership for Policy Innovation & Research Coordination
The Climate Adaptation Partnership (CAP) at CSU serves to coordinate and accelerate interdisciplinary research and to facilitate science-informed, just, and holistic, social and ecological adaptation policies in the face of a changing climate. Several members of the PLPG are involved in the CAP: Dr. Schultz (PI and Team Lead), Tamera Briedenbach (Program Manager) and Niki vonHedemann (Research Associate). To learn more about the CAP team and their work, visit the CAP website or subscribe to the CAP newsletter.
See image below for information about our introductory seminar series this fall! Click to enlarge the image.
Professor Schultz testifies for Congress’ Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands on April 29th
We are excited to announce that Professor Schultz will be testifying in an oversight hearing titled “Wildfire in a Warming World: Opportunities to Improve Community Collaboration, Climate Resilience, and Workforce Capacity.”
Or, watch the full Congressional hearing here:
PLPG’s Brielle Manzolillo to defend MS thesis on May 5th
“In November 2020, Colorado citizens passed a historic vote to reintroduce gray wolves. Colorado wildlife managers and policy makers now have the opportunity to consider different paths forward, drawing on the lessons of the past to lead to a successful wolf reintroduction program. … This research aims to inform Colorado decision-makers on ways to move forward with planning for future wolf reintroduction.”
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Professor Schultz on NPR: How Forest Thinning to Reduce Wildfire Risk Gives Opportunity to New Startups
Listen (below) and/or read along here as Professor Schultz joins fellow experts from the forest products industry and the Colorado State Forest Service to discuss opportunities that arise as a result of forest thinning for wildfire mitigation.
Co-led by the PLPG’s Courtney Schultz and Tamera Briedenbach and Leisl Carr Childers from the history department, the PLPG’s Climate Adaptation Partnership (CAP) for Policy Innovation and Research Coordination was one of 5 interdisciplinary research teams selected for the 2020 Catalyst for Innovative Partnerships funding program.
“Schultz pointed to one project in Northern Arizona where a collaborative group working with the Forest Service produced an environmental impact statement for a project covering close to a million acres — an unprecedented scale — and faced no legal challenges. But nearly a decade later, the project is still struggling to get the work done, due to a dearth of industry contractors and economic incentive to support forest thinning.”
Courtney Schultz discussed her research on collaborative governance approaches for meeting fire management goals with the Bloomberg CityLab.
“It wasn’t until I started a deep dive into the politics of past wolf reintroductions that I really began to understand the complexity that emerges for people and places in the presence of wolves. … Past reintroduction efforts in other states offer us important lessons. Colorado sits in a unique place, geographically positioned between two of the most high-profile wolf reintroduction programs in the country. … Both reintroductions can provide valuable perspectives on the management strategies available to Colorado.”
Graduate student Brielle Manzolillo wrote an article for the Institute for Science and Policy detailing her research on the wolf reintroduction ballot initiative in Colorado.
“President Donald Trump has signed the Great American Outdoors Act. … Courtney Schultz, director of the Public Lands Policy Group and associate professor of Natural Resource Policy at Colorado State University, joined KUNC’s Colorado Edition to discuss the legislation’s impact.”
Listen or read along as Professor Schultz shares her expertise with Colorado’s KUNC radio station!
The Policy of Starting Fires: A Podcast with Professor Courtney Schultz
“The destruction caused by forest fires in the western U.S. has only been increasing in recent years. This episode, we learn about ways to combat wildfires and the policy barriers that exist to implement prescribed burns with expert and CSU professor, Courtney Schultz.”
Professor Schultz was featured in CSU’s State of Research podcast for her research on policy barriers to prescribed fire implementation.
Policy Barriers & Opportunities: Webinar Pt. 2
Policy Barriers to Prescribed Fire: Webinar Pt. 1
“President Donald Trump’s recent comments blaming forest managers for catastrophic California wildfires have been met with outrage and ridicule from the wildland fire and forestry community. Not only were these remarks insensitive to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in California – they also reflected a muddled understanding of the interactions between wildfire and forest management.”
Read this article in the CSU Source News to hear Professor Schultz describe the complex relationship between wildfires and forest management.
“As scholars of U.S. forest policy, collaborative environmental management and social-ecological systems, we see [prescribed fire] as a management tool that deserves much wider attention. … The question now is where to invest in restoring forest conditions and promoting more resilient landscapes, while reducing risks to communities, ecosystems, wildlife, water and other precious resources.”
Read as Professor Schultz and her colleagues discuss the benefits of, and barriers to, using prescribed fire.
“Schultz is the first person from her immediate family to finish college and to obtain graduate degrees. … “They used to say, ‘You’ve been in school so long!’” said Schultz, reflecting back on her route from Stanford to the University of Maryland — for a master’s degree in conservation biology and sustainable development — and the University of Montana, for a doctoral degree in forest policy.”
This feature article in the CSU Source News outlines Professor Schultz’ personal interests, career path, and research endeavors.