Forest health & fire prevention


In Northern California, our forests have the potential to benefit us or destroy us.  Our forests currently are in a state of crisis.  Instead of providing us with necessary natural, social, and economic resources, they have become a public safety hazard. Unfortunately, we can expect to see increased extreme weather conditions that continue to spark catastrophic fires, threaten our communities and claim lives. If we use scientific practices to manage our forests back to their natural state of health – we turn that threat into the center of our environmental and economic prosperity.


PRIORITIES:

  • Support Career and Technical Education (CTE) to prepare or retrain the workforce for forest management
  • Increase public-private partnership in forest management through stewardship contracts, which reduce the cost of forest management, and boost local economies
  • Support for education and implementation of proactive fire control measures, including fuel breaks, controlled burns, and forest thinning
  • Support selective sustainable logging, to restore appropriate density to the forests, and remove excess and dead trees
  • Support education and implementation of scientifically proven forest management strategies that provide for the diversity of species and ages of trees in the forest, reducing the chance of massive die-off from disease or pest outbreaks
  • Create economic incentives and remove barriers for new industry utilization of woody biomass removed from public land

When we manage our forests to protect and restore our watershed ecosystems – we achieve a multitude of benefits. Recharged groundwater, improved water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, valuable timber, livestock forage, and other forest by-products.  Forest restoration and management provides quality jobs to local people and boosts our rural economy. I would strongly advocate for focused federal funding and streamlined oversight and for local experts to be involved in managing our forests for multiple uses, including sustainable logging, wildlife, tourism, recreation, and rural jobs.


New industry utilization of woody biomass removed from public land:

Deadwood or thinned trees removed from forests if left alone would release greenhouse gasses during natural decomposition or a forest fire. By using these low-quality timber products in innovative industrial uses, we can reduce the damaging impact of this natural carbon release, and can create a valuable input to help our rural economies thrive.

  • Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), is a composite, mass timber product that utilizes low-quality timber products like beetle-infested wood, small diameter trees, or downed limbs, to produce a strong and quality building material. CLT is currently not considered a building material under US building code. We must act quickly to develop codes and standards so that CLT can be used. Using woody biomass for building traps the carbon, and does not release it into the atmosphere.
  • Renewable Fuel – Woody biomass can be processed into renewable fuels that are used as fuel additives for autos, trucks, ships, and jets. These fuels are cleaner burning than fossil fuels. Currently, federal policy does not allow woody biomass removed from public lands to be categorized for use in renewable fuels (not eligible for a RIN under the Renewable Fuels Act). This must be reversed. Existing biomass plants could be retrofitted to produce renewable fuel. Also, California’s low-carbon fuel standard should be made a federal standard, to increase renewable fuel additives and reduce the carbon impact of our transportation sector.
  • Electricity – Woody biomass can be processed in co-gen plants, which gasify it and produce electricity. While this process does release carbon, new cleaner technologies are possible, in order to release less destructive gasses than the wood would naturally release during decomposition if left in the forest.