Stewardship End Results Contracting Projects

Opportunities for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

Rod Sallee – USDA Forest Service

Forest and Rangelands Staff, Washington DC

Good morning, my name is Rod Sallee.  I am with the US Forest Service in the Forest and Rangelands Staff at our national headquarters in Washington DC.  I want to share with you opportunities for the management of medicinal and aromatic plans available through a new a new authority called stewardship end results contracting.  It fits in the supply chain of growing of plants and plant harvesting.  Section 323, Public Law 108-7, which is the Consolidated Appropriations Resolution of 2003, provides the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management a new tool called stewardship contracting.  It gives us the authority to offer stewardship contracting projects through 2013 and with a ten year term which will mean we can implement projects through 2024.

In 1999 Congress authorized the Forest Service to test this approach to land stewardship on National Forests.  It created new incentives to work with communities and was limited to 84 pilot sites (28 in each of the 1999, 2001, & 2002 Appropriation Acts).  Large amounts of resource work have been accomplished through the pilots using this tool thus far and that work is on-going.  It has shown the benefits of good local collaboration, the projects have enjoyed financial soundness and integrity, and most importantly the focus has been on how we leave the land.

Let me share the benefits and unique features of the authorization.  They are:

  1. It allows for ten year best value contracts where previous authorities limited contracts to five years or less.
  2. It allows exchange of goods for services rather than requiring all the receipts from the goods go to the US Treasury.  We can bundle projects in the exchange of goods for services.
  3. It facilitates land restoration and enhancement efforts by using receipts for important work on the ground.  This provides a means of extending the value of appropriated funds to help carry out needed ecosystem restoration, maintenance, and improvement activities.  That could include work involving medicinal and aromatic plants.
  4. No new funds come with the authorization.

The stewardship authorization requires collaboration with individuals, state and local communities, and tribes. The authorization also requires project-level, multi-party monitoring and annual reports to congress.

The commitments the Forest Service has made are:

  1. Projects will be put together with public participation.
  2. All environmental laws such as NEPA will be followed.
  3. Wilderness and Roadless Area policies will apply.
  4. Land Management Plans will apply.
  5. Projects will be subject to existing appeal processes.
  6. Our partners will include any cooperating government agencies, tribal governments, or any interested groups or individuals.
  7. Multiparty monitoring and evaluation process to be established on a programmatic basis.
  8. At the project level as part of the collaborative effort we will encourage multiparty monitoring so the collaborative group can see the on-the-ground results.

The final policy for the new authority is being developed as we proceed.   A new integrated resource contract is being developed that is a combination of procurement and timber sale provisions.  It will be adapted for the use of special forest products, including medicinal and aromatic plants.

We believe that it is an important tool to help implement the Healthy Forest Initiative and it also involves special forest products or non-timber forest products as they are called by many.

The opportunity can work two ways, one is to trade valuable medicinal and aromatic plants as well as other special forest products for service such as restoration or actions needed to benefit those plants or for other services needed.  The other way to take advantage of the opportunity is to trade goods such as timber for services that benefit habitats for medicinal and aromatic plants. 

Our policy is being captured in a new handbook for stewardship contracting and should be available as an interim directive by early November of this year. Now is the time for all of you to be thinking about way to use this new authority and exploring ways that we can make this opportunity for special forest products work for you on federal lands.

Thank you for the opportunity to share this information about stewardship contracting and the implications for medicinal and aromatic plants.