County Supervisors Urge State To Review Management Of Jackson Demonstration State Forest • The Mendocino Voice | Mendocino County, CAThe Mendocino Voice


MENDOCINO Co., 11/16/21 – A debate has raged for several months over whether the Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) is being managed in the best possible way in the face of a dramatically escalating climate crisis. On Monday, the Mendocino County Supervisory Board decided to get involved and send a letter to the state, urging officials to consider whether Cal Fire’s current management practices align with the climate goals of the ‘State. Local staff say their work already aligns with these goals.

After about two hours of discussion and a few dozen public comments, supervisors voted unanimously to send a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom and the State Natural Resources Agency requesting that the current management of the forest by Cal Fire is scientifically reviewed. More specifically, the resolution calls on state officials to:

  • include the climate impacts of commercial logging on state lands in its 30 × 30 plan to conserve 30% of state land and water by 2030;
  • publish a scientific report on how current forest management practices impact carbon sequestration capacity and resilience to forest fires, as well as how they might be affected by other types of forest management ;
  • align forest management goals with state climate goals in a way that enhances scientific, recreational, and economic opportunities there.

“It was our hope to come up with a resolution that was pro-science,” said 5th district supervisor Ted Williams, who presented the resolution with 4th district supervisor Dan Gjerde. “Not anti-logging, taking no perspective, but pro-science. “

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Community members supporting the resolution said second-growth redwoods are the biggest carbon sequestrants on the planet and must be preserved at all costs. “Redwood is a luxury wood,” said Sarah Rose, a sophomore at Mendocino Community High School. “And the redwood industry is not a luxury that we can prioritize over our collective future.” About three in five community members said they wanted supervisors to support a scientific review of forest management practices.

But researchers and forestry staff said they are following the science and are not only aligned with the state’s climate goals, but research in demonstration forests like Jackson State is helping to inform those goals. said Kevin Conway, program manager for Jackson Demonstration State Forest. “The state’s demonstration forestry program is included as an existing state effort to meet the goals of the 30 × 30 plan,” Conway said. “So we were recognized as what we do now today is already compatible and contributing to these state goals.”

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The land was almost completely deforested when the state bought the property 70 years ago, and Conway said state labor actually reforested the land while demonstrating that it could be used for recreation, research and production of wood. The resolution wants a report on the impact of current management practices on carbon sequestration, but Conway said Cal Fire is already keeping track of it. Research in the forest shows that it stores 19 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2017 and sequesters carbon dioxide at a rate of around 200,000 metric tonnes per year, offsetting emissions from just under 43,500 cars.

The state used the 2016 JDSF management plan to draft its statewide forest research report, which was released on June 18. for Mendocino County, “including things like climate change and carbon management, forest fire risk management and traditional ecological knowledge”. The fact that the state is already using the forest management plan and the research plan to guide its own research priorities suggests that local priorities are already aligned with those of the state, he said.

Williams said Cal Fire has problems communicating this with the public and that sending a letter to the state could help strengthen Cal Fire’s position that it is already taking the science-based approach. The board has received continued public comment on commercial logging in the Jackson State Forest, Gjerde told The Mendocino Voice on Friday. Activists have been disrupting logging in the forest since they discovered a timber harvesting scheme (THP) in the Caspar 500 last spring. They called for a moratorium on logging in the forest until the community is brought to the table and their concerns are heard.

The disruption of logging in the forest has led to hiccups in the local timber industry. Bruce Burton, one of the owners of the Willits Redwood Company specialty redwood sawmill and the buyer of the Caspar 500 lumber sale, said the logging stoppage forced him to haul timber from the counties of Humboldt and Santa Cruz. “It was almost 50% of our consumption for the year,” said Burton, “and all of a sudden, not only is the Anderson Logging Company, who we are contracted with, to do this work, they have Immediately had to find work for the 40 employees they had assigned to this task It just happened overnight.

The board has no other way to help resolve the conflict between asking the state to review the plan, Williams said. “We have a lot of conflicts brewing locally,” Williams said. “I don’t want to see, and I don’t think the board wants to see, conflicts between the public, our officials, foresters, researchers. And Cal Fire has a change of command and what we do with that resolution is go to the top of this chain and ask for an assurance, a verification that there is an alignment.

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The JDSF Advisory Group (JAG) is meeting from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, November 16, at Camp 20 in the Jackson State Forest, which lies along Highway 20 between Willits and Fort Bragg.


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