Cooperative Extension Specialist
Cooperative Extension Specialist
- PhD Forest Economics and Policy University of California, Berkeley, 1993
- B.S. Environmental Earth Sciences Stanford University, 1978
Climate smart forestry, watershed management, forest management, resource economics
My areas of interest for both research and extension center around improving the positive financial linkages between working forests and rangelands on one hand and our urban residents on the other. Climate change will alter the probabilities of wildfire, flood and drought risks and could substantially change vegetation and water runoff relationships. Climate smart forestry that is centered around the ensuring that forests are both sequestering carbon at high rates and that harvested products replace other emission-intensive products can provide significant overall climate benefits. Current regulatory frameworks governing land management practices evolved around historical themes and are less effective at addressing these new challenges. Improving our understanding of how new threats will affect all land uses is necessary to ensure forward looking forest and watershed management strategies. The emerging agreement that climate change impacts need to be addressed also offers intriguing opportunities for more revenue to go back to working forests by integrating the carbon storing nature of trees, the `carbon-neutral' benefits of wood building products, and the wide variety of `carbon-neutral' biofuels for industrial and transport sectors into the decision making options for forest owners and managers. While these resource economics and resource policy themes need to framed in national and global perspectives, the solutions that will work in California must also be placed-based.
In addition to the high value timber and grass-fed beef, we all know there is an ever increasing social demand for services and risk avoidance such as better water quality, better fish and wildlife habitats, reduced wildfire, and more open space -- but few straight forward price signals, markets, or long-term institutional arrangements to promote the sustainable production of these services. Without lower regulatory costs or money going back to the land for the full range of goods and services, it is increasingly likely that second homes will be the next crop. We also face two growing challenges to the quality and quantity of water running off the forested watersheds that form the backbone of California's water supply system. The management of the mosaic of managed private timberlands, lightly managed federal forest lands, and low density rural residential and recreational development varies from watershed to watershed and affects all downstream users. Increased rural residential development will introduce even more `people pollution' from lawn chemicals, herbicides and pesticides, sewage and transportation-related pollutants. A major component of my outreach program is to understand and address the constraints and opportunities at individual watersheds scales around the state.
Cabiyo, B., Fried, J. S., Collins, B. M., Stewart, W., Wong, J., & Sanchez, D. L. (2021). Innovative wood use can enable carbon-beneficial forest management in California. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(49), e2019073118. doi:10.1073/pnas.2019073118
Siegel, K. J., Larsen, L. G., Stephens, C., Stewart, W., & Butsic, V. (Submitted). Quantifying drivers of change in social-ecological systems: land management impacts wildfire probability in forests of the western US. One Earth.
Holland TG, Stewart W, Potts MD. 2019. Source or Sink? A comparison of Landfire- and FIA-based estimates of change in aboveground live tree carbon in California’s forests. Environmental Research Letters 14.
Starrs CF, Butsic V, Stephens C, Stewart W. 2018. The impact of land ownership, firefighting, and reserve status on fire probability in California. Environmental Research Letters 13
Stewart WC, Sharma BD. 2015. Carbon calculator tracks the climate benefits of managed private forests. California Agriculture 69:21-26.
Stewart WC, Nakamura G. 2012. Documenting the full climate benefits of harvested wood products in Northern California: Linking harvests to the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Forest Products Journal 62:340-353.
Stewart W, Sharma B, York R, Diller L, Hamey N, Powell R, Swiers R. 2016. Forestry. Pages 817-754 in Mooney H, Zavaleta E, eds. Ecosystems of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
130 Mulford Hall #3114
Berkeley, CA 94720