The 2010 Forest and Range Assessment: The Basics

Forest photo California law requires that periodic assessments and strategic plans be developed to inform policy decisions on the state’s forest and rangeland resources. In addition, the USDA Forest Service State & Private Forestry Redesign Program has provided states with funding and direction to take a focused and systematic approach to evaluate opportunities for state-federal agency partnering for better forest and rangeland management. Addressing both assessment requirements, the FRAP report “California’s Forests and Rangelands: 2010 Assessment:” has been completed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) ’s Fire and Resource Assessment Program (FRAP). It highlights key policy issues and options for the subsequent strategy document, which provides the framework for state and federal programs that support good forest and rangeland stewardship in California.

For the Assessment, 11 key topics, or subthemes, were analyzed in detail. Some of the topics covered in these subthemes are threats to forest and range resources, water quality and quantity, wildlife habitat conservation and others. Learn more about Themes and Subthemes and the topics they cover.

The process for developing the 2010 Assessment was based on looking at the location of forest and range resource assets in the context of potential threats across the state. This information was used to determine priority landscapes that have high asset values that are likely to be threatened – this Assessment will help guide efforts to acquire and direct funding that can enable programs and other tools that create desired future landscape conditions. Learn more about the Assessment Analytical Framework.

A key function of the 2010 Assessment is to support California in allocating financial resources available from the federal government. Increasing threats to natural resources and tighter limits on available funds mean that priorities must be carefully examined. For this reason, the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry Program (SP&F) in 2008 “redesigned” its approach to these plans and funding strategies – and Program Redesign has strongly shaped the approach CAL FIRE has taken to the California 2010 Assessment. Learn more about the Redesign Framework.

CAL FIRE is mandated (by Public Resource Code 4789) to periodically assess California's forest and rangeland resources. FRAP was created to perform the Assessment in cooperation with federal, state and local agencies, public and private organizations and California's academic research community. The approach to the 2010 Assessment is based upon themes found in the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry Farm Bill Requirement and Redesign Strategies (pdf) of the USDA Forest Service, which are similar to topics examined in FRAP's 2003 Assessment.

The 2008 Federal Farm Bill amended the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act (CFAA) to provide for greater reliance on state forest resource assessments and resource strategies. This is reflected in the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry “Redesign” Program. The goals of the CFAA amendments and the Redesign Program are to identify priority forest landscape areas and to underscore work needed to address national, regional and state forest management priorities.

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