California forests are no longer natural. Over time, human impacts such as logging and fire suppression have left forests more prone to diseases, insects, and wildfires. University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) recently received a competitive grant from CAL FIRE to launch a forest management training program for private landowners to help protect California’s forests.
There are approximately 33 million acres of forest in California. Of those acres, 40 percent are owned by families, Native American tribes, or private companies and 27 percent are owned by individuals.
Less than one percent of private forest land owners had written management plans when surveyed. Management plans lead to healthier forests, and healthier forests protect against devastating wildfires, make for healthier rural communities, better wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and increase carbon sequestration, among other benefits.
The UCCE Forest Stewardship Training Series makes it easy for landowners to create a forest management plan, laying out the background of the forest, the landowner’s objectives, and the steps the landowner has taken or is taking to achieve those objectives. The land management plan is a vital document when communicating with other industry professionals and serves as a business plan for the landowner.
Private forest landowners are encouraged to start the process through an online webinar, found at www.ucanr.edu/forest_learning. Through the webinar, landowners learn how to set goals and objectives for their forested land and learn to understand tree management, wildlife, and water quality, recognize insects and diseases, and understand safety and roads.
Upon completing the short online training, landowners are invited to an all-day workshop for a more in-depth understanding of forest land management and are connected with a forest land management professional. Workshops will take place in Redding on May 29, Berkeley on June 15, and Auburn on June 22. Visit www.ucanr.edu/forest_learning for more information, or contact Rick Standiford, UC Cooperative Extension Forest Management Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.