Ecological Performance Measures for California Timberlands
Assembly Bill 1492 directs the Timber Regulation and Forest Restoration Program to develop a statewide ecological performance measures (EPM) approach as an accountability measure for the multiple State programs that regulate timber management on nonfederal forestlands. Harnessing data from existing monitoring programs across State and Federal resource agencies, the intent is to establish a spatially explicit, consistent monitoring approach to track forest ecosystem condition over time at a regional scale. Results will be used to inform decision makers in their work to support adaptive management of timberlands and to help ensure the accountability of State-led forest management regulatory programs. Looking beyond the mandate of AB 1492, the EPM approach may also assist in the evaluation of State and Federal programs to invest in forest health and resilience.
California’s timberland ecosystems are abundant (over 17 million acres), diverse, and productive. In the context of ever-increasing pressure and stress on these forested systems, including catastrophic wildfire and climate change, it is more important than ever to monitor changes in ecosystem conditions towards ensuring State regulations and programs are keeping pace with what is needed to sustain California timberlands into the future.
To be successful, the ecological performance measures must have a sound scientific basis and be supported by the review team agencies, other state and federal natural resource agencies, regulated forestland owners, and a wide range of stakeholders. Providing stakeholder input opportunities for the development of ecological performance measures and other aspects of the Timber Regulation and Forest Restoration Program will be critical to the program’s success.
For additional information about the development of ecological performance measures, click here.
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