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. 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. In addition, climate change will alter the probabilities of wildfire, flood and drought risks and could substantially change vegetation and water runoff relationships. 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 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. A major component of my outreach program is to understand and address the constraints and opportunities at individual watersheds scales around the state.
The economic drivers behind residential conversion in the oak woodlands. 2006. The Sixth California Oak Symposium: Today's Challenges, Tomorrow's Opportunities.
Statewide Development Trends. 2005 Presentation at the California Forests Future Conference. PDF
The New Economies of the Redwood Region in the 21st Century. 2004. Redwood Region Science Symposium.
Office Address211 Mulford Hall
Office Phone Number510-643-3130
Mailing addressDepartment of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
130 Mulford Hall #3114
Berkeley, CA 94720