Kendal Martel

Kendal Martel
Program Coordinator, Forest Stewards Guild

I think the future of forest stewardship will have a larger focus on social science and the role of communities and humans as a part of the forest landscape. The forest is a resource for us to thoughtfully and sustainably interact with, whether that is for ecosystem services, recreation, building and energy materials, or cultural and spiritual value. However, with multiple uses comes multiple and sometimes conflicting views. My passion and background are in understanding how communities, federal, state and tribal agencies, and others can build more inclusive and efficient models of collaborative governance around natural resource management that engages with conflict rather than fighting or ignoring it. The more we can sit down and ask questions, create dialogue, and connect the community to science and research, the more we learn what the forest needs from our stewardship.

While collaboration based forest management certainly is not limited to women, I have met and worked with so many inspiring female-identifying facilitators, land managers, landowners, partnership builders, and community forest workers that bring patient, thoughtful, empathetic, intelligent and strategic knowledge to the table. With climate change set to change the way we move in the world as humans, our adaptation will have to include cooperation and collaboration within our formal and informal governance structures and our forest dependent communities, and I already see women taking the lead on that.