BioSum: A Tool for Forest Health Management Decision Making
Principal Investigator: Matthew Potts
Project Partners: William Stewart, Samuel Evans
Institution: University of California, Berkeley
Project Type: Science Synthesis and Tool Development
Grant Award: #8GG21822
Amount awarded: $359,322
Award Date: March, 2021
The state of California has laid out a bold and positive vision for increasing the annual carbon sequestration rates (e.g. climate mitigation benefits) of California’s forest, while maintaining and improving the other environmental and social benefits from our forests. However, this aspirational goal is being made increasingly more challenging by the well-documented increases in climate change induced mortality such as wildfires, increasing droughts, and disease outbreaks. While the state of California has committed to investing billions of dollars in a wide range of programs to increase forest-related climate mitigation benefits primarily by reducing wildfire and inset mortality losses (Forest Management Task Force 2021, Newsom 2021), it still remains extremely difficult for state decision makers to accurately assess the specific climate claims of many grant applicants, ARB forest offset applicants, timber harvest plans (THPs) and exemptions. Better and more transparent insights into the estimated outcomes of different strategies would provide critical information to increase the efficacy and efficiency of state and private investments in forest-based climate mitigation benefits. This project will use the USFS PNW’s BioSum model (Fried et al. 2017) to address the following research question: How do proposed treatment alternatives perform at regional levels and across a variety of land-owner objectives, when tested against clear benchmarks using a transparent model?
Empirical results from a FIA plot-based analysis in the AB1504 reports (Christensen et al. 2021) provide evidence of regional or forest-specific ‘best practices’ for climate mitigation that incorporates in-forest carbon sequestration, storage in harvested products, and emissions reductions through product substitutions. We will combine these empirical results with plot-based information on stand-based tree lists, fuel loading, Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) based growth projections, costs and revenues, and transportation and processing logistical information to significantly improve the shared public and private understanding of public policies and discrete project level actions aimed at mitigating climate change. We are using BioSum to work with both decision makers and project managers to test different approaches against clear and transparent benchmarks, providing regional and project-specific guidance for applying best practices to achieve the “best” results based on management objectives. This approach has already been used for statewide analyses for California (Cabiyo et al. 2021), Oregon (Petitmermet et al., 2019), the Northern Rockies (Jain et al. 2019), and Arizona/New Mexico (Fried et al. 2017), but this project involves more decision makers and implementers in a shared learning approach to clarify regionally appropriate strategies.
No publications at this time.
For more information on this project please visit:
Stewart (PI) website:
The project website:
Matthew Potts (PI)
CAL FIRE Forest Health Research Program