S-C2 Managing Public Lands for Ecosystems Services in the Energy-Water Nexus

This session will first reflect upon the Forest Service’s first interpretations of how the evolving interplay between climate change, energy demand and fire would become dominant drivers of future state and federal policies. Shifting from policy to implementation, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Natural Resources will discuss an ecosystem services approach to natural gas development on state lands. Finally, USDA will reflect on the role of environmental markets as potential solutions to provide incentives for land stewardship and reduce the risk of natural catastrophe through water quality trading and investment in biomass production.


  • Jonas Epstein, Economic Research Fellow, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), USDA Forest Service


  • Christopher Hartley, Senior Environmental Markets Analyst, Office of Environmental Markets, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Ellen Shultzabarger, Chief, Conservation Science and Ecological Resources, Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry
  • Al Steele, Physical Scientist, USDA Forest Service
  • Julie Tucker, National Lead for Renewable Wood Energy, USDA Forest Service

Jonas Epstein works on the Forest Service’s multiple-use mission which requires a more consistent economic evaluation of tradeoffs and management alternatives as natural resource issues become increasingly complex and integrated. Jonas’ primary objective is to help provide national direction in accounting for ecosystem services in decision-making, performance metrics, communications, and development of environmental markets. (202-697-1055; jonaskepstein@fs.fed.us)

Christopher Hartley is responsible for the development of policy, tools, and metrics to support landowner participation in markets for ecosystem services. He surveys current efforts to promote the development of ecosystem service markets and to improve the scope, accuracy, and applicability of conservation programs. (202 690-0832; chartley@oce.usda.gov)

Ellen Shultzabarger’s work has focused on ecological management programs on 2.2 million acres of state forest lands as well as oversight of the state’s natural heritage and wild plant programs. Her work has expanded over the past few years, with concentrations on energy development, conservation planning and threatened and endangered species policy and regulation. Prior to joining the Bureau of Forestry, Ellen worked for the MA Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program, Tufts University’s environmental program and the National Wildlife Federation. (717-705-2817, eshultzaba@pa.gov)

Al Steele’s background includes degrees in forest management, engineering, and an MBA. Before joining the Forest Service, he worked for Maine’s forest industries; a marketing research firm serving national and international clients; and as forest manager on 300,000 acres of tribal lands in Maine. Al worked for many years to encourage sustainable natural resource-based economic development. His portfolio has been broadened in recent years to generate expertise regarding the interactions between energy development, carbon issues, and the protection and management of forested landscapes. In his spare time, he seeks out and then propagates nearly lost varieties of apples across the U.S. (304-285-1588; asteele@fs.fed.us)

Julie Tucker has worked as an environmental engineering consultant and attorney for a diverse public and private sector clients. Julie advocates shifting our country toward more sustainable use of natural resources by advancing efficient technologies, stimulating markets that enhance ecological restoration, promoting institutional behavioral changes, and reshaping national policies. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa before joining the U.S. Forest Service as a Presidential Management Fellow, where she has been promoting renewable wood energy since 2005. Julie holds degrees in engineering and law from North Carolina Central University. (202-253-6483; julietucker@fs.fed.us)



  • Carlos Rodriguez-Franco, Acting Deputy Chief, U.S.Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Forest Service
  • Jonas Epstein, ORISE Economics/Ecosystem Services Research Fellow, U.S.Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Forest Service
  • Mary Snieckus, Ecosystem Services and Markets program lead, U.S.Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Forest Service

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