Two bills Forests Forever has worked on long and hard have recently cleared the state Senate and begun their journey through the Assembly.

Sen. Sheila Kuehl’s Oak Woodlands Protection Act (SB 1334) passed a May 25 floor vote in the Senate, 23 to 13. Now it moves to the Assembly, where it has been referred to the Natural Resources and Agriculture committees. A hearing is scheduled for Monday, June 14. Resistance is expected to be fierce.

The Oak Woodlands Protection bill has been amended several times in its passage through the legislature, but even as amended it is well worth supporting, since it would provide a mechanism for protecting oaks that is otherwise completely absent from state law.

As it now stands, SB 1334 would require counties containing oak woodlands to establish an oak woodlands management plan, and would also require developers to offset the loss of any oaks they clear. The bill provides several ways this might be accomplished, including restoration of oak woodlands, purchasing conservation easements, or contributing to the Oak Woodlands Conservation Fund.

On May 25, Sen. Wesley Chesbro’s state forest system reform bill also passed the Senate on a vote of 23 to 13. SB 1648 would change the official purpose of California’s eight taxpayer-owned forests– chief among them 50,000-acre Jackson State Forest in Mendocino County– from timber production to restoration logging, education, recreation, and research. The bill was amended in the Senate to add protections for old growth.

The bill, as amended, would permit restoration logging to begin on Jackson Forest, but the harvesting would be overseen by a broad-based advisory committee, according to Vince Taylor, spokesperson for the Jackson Forest Action Coalition. The revenues from the logging would be used to fund operations of the forest until a new management plan is approved, Taylor said.

Forests Forever campaigned for the state-forest / Jackson reform legislation throughout most of 2002 and 2003. Since November 2003 we have pushed for passage of the oaks bill.

If you are one of the thousands of our supporters who wrote or called your legislators on these bills, you deserve a hearty thank-you for the role you played in these exciting Senate victories!


Now the fight is on in the Assembly. Contact your assemblymember and tell him or her to support both SB 1334, the Oak Woodlands Protection bill, and SB 1648, Sen. Chesbro’s bill to change the purpose of California’s eight state forests.

You can find information on how to contact your assemblymember at:



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

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places