Bob Burns: We The Forest Profile


Meet Bob Burns, a dedicated private landowner in the Black Hills of South Dakota, who has transformed a family inheritance into a beacon of forest conservation and resilience. Bob, who took over his family’s land in 1969, has been at the forefront of actively managing the forest land to bolster its health and diversity.

Bob’s journey in forest management began with his foresight and education in forestry. Understanding the critical importance of thinning and sustainable practices, he set out to create a forest that could stand resilient against natural threats, especially wildfires. His proactive approach was put to the test in 1994 during the Stagebarn Fire, a devastating event that ravaged unmanaged neighboring lands but left Bob’s well-managed forest largely unscathed.

This video not only highlights the challenges and triumphs of Bob’s journey but also delves into the broader implications of active forest management. Through Bob’s story, learn how such practices not only safeguard against wildfires but also enhance overall forest health.

Bob concludes with a powerful message on the role of private landowners in forest conservation. He addresses the apprehensions some may have about active management and emphasizes its benefits for the landowner, the community, and the forest ecosystem.

Join us in discovering how one individual’s commitment to the environment can make a significant difference. Bob’s story is a testament to the impact we can have on preserving and enriching our natural world.


We the Forest transforms forest management through storytelling. Our approach helps forestry professionals who want to build support for responsible forest management by sharing enlightening perspectives and helping forest stakeholders find common ground. 

We are dedicated to building common ground on the many sides of the timber production conversation, showing sustainable forest-first practices can provide solutions for catastrophic wildfire prevention, bug and disease reduction, climate change mitigation, and resource stewardship.

Ensuring our forests are around for years to come is something that should be our utmost priority. Through education like this, we can come together to understand the importance of restoration and collaboration to protect our forests from catastrophic wildfire, and create a more sustainable reality. 

Transforming forest management through storytelling.

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