Research and Management Publications


The Forest Stewards Guild research program carries out the Guild's mission by synthesizing and conducting scientific research to support our science based advocacyfield meetingsModel Forests, and members' land stewardship. Science goes hand in hand with Guild member's place-based experience to guide the practice of ecologically, economically, and socially responsible forestry. Guild research plays a key role as a moderating voice in forest debates because we strive to balance the ecological and economic concerns that are often in conflict. We develop informational resources that help people and communities who are engaged in forest stewardship. We also assist research scientists and organizations in incorporating the place-based experiential knowledge, perspectives, and needs of foresters and other natural resource professionals.

Current Research at the Guild

Climate Change, Carbon, and Forests

The Guild research seeks to identify how forests and forestry can resist the impacts of climate change, mitigate its effects, and adapt to changing conditions. Our report Climate Change, Carbon, and the Forests of the Northeast analyzed climate change impacts, carbon policy, and effects of forest management in the Northeast. Based on this analysis, the report provides practical strategies for use by forest managers to help sequester more carbon and improve forests' resilience to climate change.

Forest Biomass

The Guild has worked for more than a decade to establish science-based guidelines for use of forest biomass for energy. Our expertise is in the forest, so our work has focused on understanding how the forest should look after a harvest. A series of science-synthesis reports documented the importance of dead wood in Northeast, Southeast, Pacific Northwest, and Californian forests. Based on the need for snags, large downed logs, fine woody material, and other forest elements, and a review of existing guidelines, we developed biomass harvesting guidelines: 

Wildfire and Communities

In fire-adapted forests, understanding wildfire and its impacts on ecosystems and communities is one of the central forest management challenges of our generation. The Guild’s research has touched a range of the issues as follows 

Prescribed Fire and Management of Wildfires

Prescribed fire is a crucial tool for restoring forests and protecting from negative fire effects. The Guild is engaged in research to understand how to facilitate more prescribed fire, particularly for private landowners. For more information, see the report Controlled Burning on Private Land in New MexicoWe are also working with a research team from the US Forest Service and Northern Arizona University to understand how managers can use naturally ignited wildfires to benefit forests and communities. 

Ecological Forestry

The Guild is committed to supporting ecological forestry, which requires a firm scientific foundation. Often this means synthesizing existing research and presenting it in a format useful to managers and landowners. For example, we are working with partners to encourage conservation and holistic management in wetland forests as described in the report Ecological Forestry Practices for Bottomland Hardwood ForestsIn some cases, economic factors determine whether or not forests are managed in an ecologically responsible manner. In Wisconsin, we studied how forest practices and range of constraints on harvesting is affecting forests and forestry and published a report.

Research and Management Publications

Research and Management Publications include:

  • a syntheses of existing literature to answer policy questions, and
  • management oriented reports that put our philosophy into action.

The Guild also conducts novel studies that advance the practice of forest stewardship.