ongoing collaborative research projects

Fisher Translocation Project

Fishers are a species of significant management and political concern in the Sierra Nevada region. Although the species was historically present, surveys throughout the Sierra Nevada in recent years have failed to detect fishers in the northern portions of the region. Releasing animals into unoccupied portions of their historical range could strengthen the statewide population against stochastic events that may adversely affect the species at local scales. Additionally, information gained from the monitoring and researching of these translocated animals will provide insight into the habitat requirements and management of fishers in the northern Sierra Nevada and at other locations. This collaborative project translocated 40 fishers over a three year period in north western California and is continuing to monitor the growth and health of populations, and how they relate on managed landscapes.

To learn more about the project and see fishers in action, visit the project blog.

Humboldt State University Policy Grant

In partnership, The Forest Foundation helped to fund a $295,000 policy grant to Humboldt State University’s Wildland Resources Department for the creation of a forest policy and economic faculty position to further research into forest policy, and educate the next generation of professional foresters. Professor Dr. Erin Kelley is in the unique role of linking the needs and goals of landowners and other forestry stakeholders with policy makers. The faculty member’s research projects reflect this relationship, with responsibilities that vary from creating traditional academic publications to attending meetings with policy makers. The grant is in its 4th year out of the five year commitment.

The faculty projects underway include:

1)  Assessing forestry within the carbon market: This project investigates the role of forestry within the California cap-and-trade carbon market. This market has created ways for forest landowners to benefit from carbon sequestration, incentivizing certain types of management. Research address: 1) how forestry protocols have shaped market access and benefits and 2) what forestry projects can teach us about environmental governance.

2)  Improving Collaborative Fire Management: In collaboration with researchers at the USFS, we have developed a project to investigate cross-boundary fuels management in fire-prone landscapes. This project is a response to the research needs of public agencies and private landowners who are trying to implement large-scale restoration treatments in wildfire-prone regions. Research is being conducted at 6 case study locations across California and Oregon.

3)  Testing the impacts of riparian buffer policy: In collaboration with researchers at Green Diamond Resource Company and Dr. Andrew Stubblefield in a 10-year study, we are attempting to understand the efficacy and policy context of riparian buffers in timber operations in California. We are studying the development of riparian buffer policy in California and what this policy reveals about the adaptiveness of environmental laws, along with the biophysical effects of removing riparian buffers.

4)  Strengthening the ties between public lands and local communities: The creation of the Headwaters Forest in Humboldt County was a controversial and polarizing event.  This project, developed with the Bureau of Land Management and the non-profit Red Wood Parks Association, is dedicated to improving the relationship between the community of Fortuna and BLM-owned Headwaters Forest. Teams are surveying Fortuna residents and are developing Friends of the Headwaters Group, which will support the Headwaters and also the economic wellbeing of Fortuna. Together with partners, we hope to create a framework for agencies that are trying to build community support for newly-created public lands.

5)  Exploring conservation of the northern spotted owl with small scale landowners and regulatory agencies:  A small group from the UC Extension and members of the Buckeye Conservancy have been holding meetings to discuss issues of concern regarding the NSO management and small-scale landowner viability. We have organized and participated in meetings with multiple agencies to raise awareness of these concerns and are currently pushing for specific actions in order to address to concerns.


Sierra Cascade Intensive Forest Management Research Cooperative

The purpose of this project is to conduct applied reforestation and young stand management research — from seed collection to the first commercial thinning — focusing on intensive silviculture to conifer species and how they interact with their biotic and abiotic environments in the interior region of Northern California and Southwestern Oregon. It is also to promote research on how to maximize survival, volume growth and value, while meeting other quality objectives of sound land stewardship.


California Growth and Yield Model Cooperators

Members of the CAGYM Coop receive a copy of the California Forest Growth and Yield Simulator (FORSEE), a state-of-the-art Windows-based computer software program. FORSEE combines into one comprehensive program the best available algorithms, tools and utilities for analyzing forest growth and yield in California.