“Working landscapes” is a broad term that expresses the goal of fostering landscapes where production of market goods and ecosystem services is mutually reinforcing. It means working with people as partners to create landscapes and ecosystems that benefit humanity and the planet.
As an example, by stewarding rangelands we not only protect the opportunity to produce healthy livestock products, but also extensive areas of wildlife habitat and watershed.
Forests not only produce the wood needed for housing, furniture, heating, and paper, but they provide habitat for wildlife, opportunities for recreation, carbon sequestration, and watershed. Forests and rangelands are cultural and historical places, and have great meaning for many Californians.
A goal is finding management and policy synergies—practices and policies that enhance production of multiple ecosystem services as well as goods for the market. For example, use of prescribed burning in forests can improve forest health, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, restore Native American management practices, and increase biodiversity. Livestock grazing can be used to improve habitat for endangered butterflies, flowers, kangaroo rats and many other species.
Collaborative management processes can help discover synergies and create better decisions and policy. Incentives can help private landowners support management that benefits society.
Forests and rangelands in California and across the globe are the research focus of a number of our faculty.