Diverse Forest Coalition Endorses Governor Brown’s Call to Action to Save California Forests
California’s forests face an unprecedented risk of megafires as well as insect and disease epidemics that have degraded millions of acres of forest. Megafires are fires that burn extremely hot, damage vast expanses of forest habitat, and threaten the lives of people and communities. The California Forest Watershed Alliance (CAFWA) endorses Governor Brown’s executive order today that drives action to save California’s forests.
CAFWA is an urban-rural coalition representing a diverse group of organizations including water interests, local government, the conservation community, agriculture, and the forestry sector. CAFWA supports proactive management that can help protect people, forests, and local economies. Governor Brown’s Executive Order today acknowledges the need for a comprehensive approach to restore the health of our forests, including necessary funding to advance the pace and scale of forest conservation.
In 2017, California experienced the largest and most destructive wildfire season in its history. Changing climate patterns and lack of active forest management have made California more vulnerable to wildfire, with massive tree die-offs due to years of drought and widespread insect infestations, year-round fire weather conditions, and overgrown forests, all combining to create severe fire risks throughout the state.
“Declining forest health is as much of a problem for people as it is for nature,” said Jay Ziegler, Director of Policy & External Affairs for The Nature Conservancy. “The pace and scale of ecologically-based forest management needs to be significantly increased – and we support Governor Brown’s call to treat 500,000 acres a year to reduce fire risk across our forests given the magnitude and urgency of the problem.”
The governor’s leadership puts California in position to improve forest health across large landscapes and all ownerships within California, including local, state, private and federal lands.
“California’s efforts are all the more critical today as a result of a breakthrough achieved in Congress just two months ago to substantially increase funding for active management of fire risks in our National Forests,” said Justin Caporusso, Vice President of External Affairs, Rural County Representatives of California. “Taken together state, federal and private sector actions can dramatically improve the health of our forests. These efforts will also contribute significantly to rural economic development across the state.”
“Governor Brown’s Executive Order recognizes the importance of increasing active forest management, to prevent wildfires from getting larger, hotter, and more destructive,” said Rich Gordon, President of the California Forestry Association. “The Governor’s Executive Order proposes doubling the land actively managed across our forests through vegetation thinning, controlled fires and reforestation efforts.”
As California works to adapt to rising temperatures and prolonged drought, we must be ready to address how our most precious resources are managed, so we can continue to enjoy clean air and water, abundant wildlife habitat, recreation and sustainable wood products.
We are committed to work together with the Governor to solve our current forest health crisis for the benefit of all California residents.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.