Forests Forever Advances Comprehensive Reform Package

For too long now, clearcuts have been advancing like a pox across California’s forested watersheds. The blight is largely the result of lax management by the state agencies charged with regulating the timber industry.

The bureaucracy that oversees timber operations in California has failed to balance industrial and environmental concerns.

Fighting fires and getting out the cut, rather than protecting our forest heritage, has consumed the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF).

The forests need a more suitable guardian.

To begin to restore the forests’ vigor, Forests Forever has rolled out the most extensive forestry-reform effort in its 20-year history: the California Statewide Sustainable Forests and Watersheds Campaign.

The challenge now is to get the word out. We need your help convincing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislators of the dire need for change.


Write or call Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and urge him to use his fullest influence and authority to remake California forest practices. Ask him to adopt the package of eight reform measures being advocated by Forests Forever and its allies.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-2841

Also contact your state senator and assemblymember and ask them to sign on to Forests Forever’s reform effort.


Clearcutting; herbicide spraying; global warming; hotter, more numerous fires; lax logging rules; greedy timber executives; complacent bureaucrats: all have hammered the forests into submission.
The woodlands desperately need help in recovering.

It’s time for forest managers to elevate the priority of the environment. To clean up the mess left by California’s failed forest policies, the state needs a more appropriate oversight agency and stronger regulations.

Out with the CDF, in with the DOC

Without new forestry management, California’s forests will continue to suffer. At present the lead agency charged with overseeing logging is the CDF.

But CDF’s chief role is firefighting, not resource management.

We propose legislation to put in charge the agency whose profile most closely fits the job responsibilities, the state’s Department of Conservation (DOC) .

Timber harvesting falls directly within DOC’s jurisdictional mandate. The agency
provides services and information that promote environmental health, economic vitality, informed land-use decisions, and sound management of the state’s natural resources

Online access to THPs

Forests Forever advocates publishing all Timber Harvest Plan (THP) documents online as one of the quickest and most affordable ways to advance public participation in California’s resource management decisions.

Filing fees for THPs

The state Board of Forestry (BOF) should institute a reasonable THP filing fee based on the acreage of the cut. The cost of administration, now underwritten by the taxpayer, would be borne by the landowner or timber owner filing the THP. The fees would be deposited into a THP Review and Enforcement Fund.

Strengthening the Water Code

Logging is “the leading source of impairment to water quality in the North Coast of California,” according to the U.S. EPA. Yet the state’s water code inadequately addresses the need for logging operations to protect vulnerable watersheds.

Forests Forever proposes strengthening key definitions in the state’s water quality control laws to bolster regulators’ authority to safeguard watersheds.

Clarifying legislative intent

Currently California’s Forest Practice Act (FPA) in essence designates timber production as the primary purpose of the state’s forests. The act fails to accord equal weight to protection of environmental values.
Forests Forever proposes legislation tailored to expressly mandate and not merely consider environmental protection.

Better regulate steep-slope logging

Intensive logging on steep slopes exacerbates erosion, siltation, landslides, debris torrents, and floods. Forest Forever proposes amending the Forest Practice Rules and installing stricter guidelines for logging on slopes of 15 degrees or greater.

Let counties write rules

Counties need more freedom to write their own timber harvesting rules.

Currently if the BOF rejects county-proposed logging rules– as it has done consistently for many years– the county is faced with the extra burdens of time and expense in overcoming such a decision, if it can succeed at all.

We propose shifting the burden to the BOF to show convincingly that the proposed county rules are inconsistent with the FPA, or not needed by the county.

Ban clearcutting

As Forests Forever has long argued, clearcutting is the most ecologically devastating logging method. Yet current state law permits the clearcutting of forest patches up to 40 acres each. Such cuts now scar vast stretches of California.

Forests Forever has written legislation that would prohibit clearcutting , except in strictly limited circumstances such as the harvest of fiber plantations and Christmas trees, or the creation of needed fire breaks.



Now available from Forests Forever Foundation and the Center for American Places: Forests Forever: Their Ecology, Restoration and Protection. This important new book by John J. Berger moves from calm discussions of forest ecology to the turbulent politics of forest management. It features 300-plus pages of beautifully crafted text and images, including color and black-and-white photographs by some of the most respected names in nature photography.

Forests Forever is being distributed by the University of Chicago Press and is available in softcover ($33.50 including shipping) and hardcover ($55.50 including shipping). Orders can be placed online at the Forests Forever website:


Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
John J. Berger

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places