Profile of Mount Tam viewed from across the water
Kirke Wrench

Resources Library


Systems Thinking and Change: A Guide for Landscape Stewardship Practitioners

California Landscape Stewardship Network
March 2021

In an effort to create a shared language and understanding for landscape stewardship practitioners, terms related to systems, such as systems thinking and systems change, are defined in this guide. Systems in three classifications—biosphere, social, and technosphere—are highlighted. These three systems all share the characteristics of interconnectedness, interdependency, and dynamism

Systems thinking is a lens through which we can understand, diagnose, and solve complex issues, in addition to a lens for decision-making and future planning. Both a process and an outcome, systems change is the action-oriented side of systems thinking, intended to produce long-lasting change.

This guide concludes with a checklist that can be used when approaching problems through a systems-thinking and systems-change perspective. When applying this perspective, the practice of collaborative leadership is highlighted as the most effective approach to tackling today’s complex problems.



Review of Models for Sagebrush Biome Partnership Governance

National Center for Environmental Conflict Resolution
March 2021

The Udall Foundation's Center for Environmental Conflict Resolution reviewed three key collaborative partnership models (the North American Wetlands Management Plan and associated Joint Ventures, the Northwest Boreal Partnership, and the Chesapeake Bay Program) and four secondary models (Blackfoot Challenge, Crown of the Continent, the National Invasive Species Council, and the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy) to identify lessons learned and best practices that could be applied to the development of a collaborative partnership in the sagebrush biome.


Webinar: Cutting Green Tape

March 2021

How can we increase the pace and scale of the ecological restoration and land stewardship necessary for climate resilient lands and water? One way is to change the permitting and regulation requirements so they encourage the “good” instead of just preventing the “bad.” That’s one of the goals of the Cutting Green Tape initiative which launched last year with a paper, Cutting Green Tape: Regulatory Efficiencies for a Resilient Environment. Watch this conversation with Sharon Farrell (Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy) and Kellyx Nelson (San Mateo Resource Conservation District) - both leaders of the California Landscape Stewardship Network - about what this means for you and our collective effort to build climate resilient lands and communities.

Learn more about TOGETHER Bay Area at



Collaborating Consciously: The Four Cornerstones

March 2021

As we continue to face complex and difficult-to-solve problems such as climate change, social injustice, and a global pandemic, the need for collaboration is more pressing than ever. Multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) are touted as promising mechanisms to tackle these challenges; however, despite their promise, not all partnerships are successful in their collaborative efforts. The presence or absence of individuals with the right mindset to participate in a collaborative leadership process is one common explanation for this.

The purpose of the research presented here is to better understand collaboration in the context of MSPs. Answering the question “Which behaviors foster collaboration and which ones discourage collaboration?” can help us address the question of “How do you effectively participate in the process of collaborative leadership?” In this research, qualitative data were collected and analyzed to reveal behaviors that influence successful collaboration.


Cutting Green Tape Webinar

Coastal Conservancy
February 2021

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California Coastal Conservancy Cutting Green Tape Webinar 2/3/21

California Landscape Stewardship Network
February 2021

The California State Coastal Conservancy hosted a webinar on 2/3/21 with Kellyx Nelson and Jim Robins about the Cutting Green Tape initiative and why it is needed to protect our natural resources. Ms. Nelson and Mr. Robins are two of the lead authors of the Cutting Green Tape: Regulatory Efficiencies for a Resilient Environment report (November 2020) and discuss the need for changes in our regulatory processes and present the recommendations in the report. With Trish Chapman, Central Coast Regional Manager, State Coastal Conservancy.




Center for Large Landscape Conservation

Connecting landscape-scale conservation partnerships through a national network will be essential to achieving the Biden Administration’s ambitious goals around biodiversity (“30 x 30” initiative), equity, and climate change. While some attempts have been made to coordinate landscape conservation efforts across the country, a robust, cohesive, nationwide network is not in effect today. We provide recommendations for building back a better national framework that supports landscape conservation efforts across the United States.



Resilience Before Disaster: The Need to Build Equitable, Community-Driven Social Infrastructure

Asian Pacific Environmental Network

This report offers recommendations on initial steps to build resilient communities throughout California. If taken, these steps would represent an unprecedented effort to close the climate gap and invest in social infrastructure for climate resilience. The urgent need to bolster community resilience should be viewed as an opportunity to rethink the political, social, and economic structures needed to safeguard all California residents.



Coexistence in Public Space


In recent years the number of people experiencing homelessness has grown rapidly in many American cities, raising new questions about who public space is designed for. As more and more Bay Area residents find themselves without homes, many have defaulted to living in public spaces such as parks, plazas and squares. These spaces were not designed to be homes, however, and housed users voice concerns that the presence of unhoused residents degrades public spaces, rendering them unwelcoming or even unsafe.

At the same time, people who do not have access to stable housing are members of the community and should not be denied the use of public space simply because of their living situation. As long as our cities do not provide housing for all who need it, our neighborhoods will continue to face the challenge of how housed and unhoused users can coexist in public space.

This report introduces the toolkit, which can be downloaded at, and offers considerations for community discussion.


Check In & Connect: Cutting the Green Tape

Sustainable Conservation
December 2020

Following the release of the California Secretary of Natural Resources' Cutting the Green Tape Initiative's recommendations, we heard from restoration experts about what this initiative is, why it’s needed, and how it will help accelerate restoration and protect our natural resources and ecological systems.


  • Erika Lovejoy, Accelerating Restoration Program Director, Sustainable Conservation
  • Kellyx Nelson, Executive Director, San Mateo Resource Conservation District
  • Jennifer Norris, Deputy Secretary for Biodiversity and Habitat, California Natural Resources Agency

Moderated by Ashley Boren, Chief Executive Officer, Sustainable Conservation


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