American Forests, the nation’s oldest forest conservation organization, is applauding this week’s confirmation of Jim Hubbard as Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Hubbard comes into this leadership role at USDA after a long and distinguished career at the U.S. Forest Service, where he oversaw highly successful programs and new initiatives to advance state and private forestry across America.
“America’s forests have reached a pivot point,” said Jad Daley, President and CEO of American Forests. “We are lucky to have a trusted leader and consensus builder like Jim Hubbard in his new role at USDA to help lead the forest community through this complex time. We urgently need the right policies and investment if we hope to sustain the health of America’s forests, including our national forests, in the face of climate change and other threats.”
Hubbard steps into his new role at USDA, where he will oversee the work of the U.S. Forest Service, when the agency is facing substantial new challenges. The growing extent and intensity of the annual wildfire season, exacerbated by climate change, is just one of many pressures that is complicating the work of the Forest Service and its partners. With its newly released national strategy, Toward Shared Stewardship Across Landscapes: An Outcome-Based Investment Strategy, the Forest Service has set ambitious goals for working across boundaries with states, tribes, private landowners, forest products companies, nonprofits, and other partners to scale up forest management and restoration to create resilient forests. This goal for increased collaboration aligns well with Hubbard’s history at the Forest Service.
“Forest threats like climate change, pests, and wildfire know no boundaries,” said Daley. “The only way we can create resilient forests will be collaboration and innovation at an unprecedented level, including embracing new approaches to forest management that will challenge long-held notions. With his impressive history at the U.S. Forest Service bringing partners together through ‘all lands’ collaborations, Jim Hubbard has shown he is just the right leader to bring our community together for shared landscape-scale forest restoration that is rooted in sound science. We look forward to working with Jim in his new role.”