Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of California
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Fire and California Forests: California Agriculture reports on the present crisis

Fire suppression and changing societal priorities have led to the predicament California faces today: Forests are overly dense and prone to catastrophic fire, the changing climate is likely to make both problems worse and forest managers have few tools to work with. Ironically, the hundreds of thousands of severely burned areas in the state's forests offer an opportunity to regrow a different type of forest. In the current issue of California Agriculture, the peer-reviewed journal of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), UC Cooperative Extension advisor Susan Kocher presents new approaches to forest restoration that acknowledge current realities and anticipate the changing climate.

Outlook: Californians must learn from the past and work together to meet the forest and fire challenges of the next century

The latest issue of California Agriculture is devoted entirely to forestry, starting with the editorial on 100 years of forestry at UC Berkeley by College of Natural Resources Dean Keith Gilless. Other articles are listed below.

Research news:

Fewer trees, more water, safer forests: The Sierra Nevada Watershed Ecosystem Enhancement Project is investigating how tree thinning — which is needed urgently in much of the Sierra Nevada due to long-term fire suppression — may increase the water yield from forested watersheds by as much as 10 percent. Monetizing this increased water yield, as well as other benefits from healthier forest ecosystems, could help fund forest management.

Forest thinning may increase water yield from the Sierra Nevada

Protecting oak woodlands: On California's North Coast, grassy oak woodlands are being invaded by stands of Douglas fir at an alarming rate. A UC ANR–led research team is working to understand the reasons why and guide efforts to reverse the trend.

Conifer encroachment study will inform efforts to preserve and restore North Coast oak woodlands

Peer-reviewed Research

Remote sensing: The powerful mapping capabilities of Lidar soon may be widely available to California forest managers as costs fall and the technology improves.

Mapping forests with Lidar provides flexible, accurate data with many uses

Maggi Kelly and Stefania Di Tommaso


Forest carbon: Private forests that are harvested and regenerated yield approximately 30 percent more carbon sequestration benefits than if they are left to grow.

Carbon calculator tracks the climate benefits of managed private forests

William C. Stewart and Benktesh D. Sharma


Forest management: A long-term study in the Sierra Nevada confirms the negative consequences of preferentially removing large trees.

Large-tree removal in a mixed-conifer forest halves productivity and increases white fir

Robert A. York


Post-fire ecology: Nearly 30 years after a burn at two sites in northeastern California, sagebrush had recovered fully and invasive grasses had diminished.

Post-fire vegetation dynamics of a sagebrush steppe community change significantly over time

Sara K. Hanna and Kenneth O. Fulgham


Community engagement: All sides of the Sierra Nevada forest management debate have learned from SNAMP. Can stakeholders help ensure research results are part of future management?

UC plays a crucial facilitating role in the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project

Adriana Sulak, Lynn Huntsinger and Susan D. Kocher


Ecosystem Restoration: A cooperative meadow restoration plan that successfully engaged a diverse group of stakeholders is a model for future projects.

Cooperative, cross-boundary management facilitates large-scale ecosystem restoration efforts

Erin Kelly and Jonathan Kusel


Community Fire Safety: The collaborative partnership has improved fire safety at the urban-wildland interface in fire-prone communities of Plumas, Butte and Yuba counties and stopped major wildfires.

UC Cooperative Extension works with fire safe councils to reduce wildfires

Glenn A. Nader and Michael De Lasaux


The entire California Agriculture issue can be downloaded at http://californiaagriculture.ucanr.edu.

California Agriculture is a peer-reviewed journal of research in agricultural, human and natural resources published by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. For a free subscription, visit http://californiaagriculture.ucanr.edu, or write to calag@ucanr.edu.


Posted on Friday, May 1, 2015 at 2:55 PM

UC advisor to Northern California ranchers rides off into the sunset

Glenn Nader, wearing blue cap, in the field with ranchers.
Glenn Nader, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor in Sutter and Yuba counties, retired on March 14 after 32 years supporting the iconic California cattle ranching industry.

“I feel blessed to have been able to be in an organization that allows you to come to work each day and use the power of the University of California system to solve local problems and help improve people's lives,” Nader said.

After earning a bachelor's degree in animal science at California State University, Chico, and a master's degree in animal nutrition from UC Davis, Nader joined UC ANR in 1982 as a livestock and natural resources advisor in Lassen County. Over the years, advances in information technology dramatically changed the way he communicated with ranchers.

In the early 1980s, Nader mimeographed lengthy newsletters and mailed them to clientele. In recent times, he emailed a paragraph with hyperlinks to more information. While in Lassen County, Nader also maintained a morning agriculture radio program as a method of extending information.

“I am impressed that UC ANR allows advisors to able to lead collaborative groups to solve problems in the field,” Nader said, a practice that he used numerous times over his career.

Examples include his work in the Pine Creek Coordinated Management Plan and the Yuba and Butte counties coordinated pre-fire management plan. A recent article in California Agriculture journal, UC Cooperative Extension works with fire councils to reduce wildfires, highlights the pre-fire plan's role in stopping two potentially catastrophic fires. Although not a fire scientist himself, Nader aggregated the basic concepts from UC Cooperative Extension during a sabbatical leave to be better able to address problems of the local communities he served.

The groups that he worked with were honored with the Smoky Bear Award and the Cal Fire Service Award. The Pine Creek CRMP group's work was cited as a reason to not list the Eagle Lake trout as endangered. Nader also used his animal science background to work with other advisors to publish information on how grazing could be used as a tool reduce fuels.

In 1996, Nader transferred to Sutter and Yuba counties. He said looks back on the rice straw research he conducted with animal science specialist Peter Robinson there with a sense of fulfillment. Their work over 14 years showed that preventing rice straw from drying greatly increases the nutritional value to animals. Their work was one of the UC Cooperative Extension programs recognized with the Circle of Life award from the California Rice Commission.

Nader was named the Cattleman of the Year from both the Lassen and Butte county Cattlemen's associations. He was recognized by the California Cattlemen's Association for his education and research work. The Butte and Yuba Fire Safe Councils honored Nader for his assistance in forming and for actively participating in their councils.

“I saw the councils as the perfect platform to extend research information to local residents on what they could do to reduce their risks to wildfire,” Nader said.

During a presentation to UC President Dynes on pre-fire planning, the resulting discussion revealed a need to teach the thermal transfer process for people to better understand how fire science related to fire safety recommendations.

“This is an example of how the interaction with UC faculty that can perfect the impact of Cooperative Extension,” he said.

Nader said he especially enjoyed the people he worked with during his career.

“I appreciate all the clientele and ANR staff that allowed me to greatly enjoy the blessing of being a farm advisor for 32 years,” Nader said.

During retirement he plans to spend more time with his wife Marie and son Alan on their Modoc County ranch.

Posted on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 11:17 AM
Tags: Glenn Nader (2), retirement (15)

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources water experts can provide drought commentary

With the ongoing interest in the California drought and water issues in general, the University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) is pleased to offer the following expert sources to assist in your coverage.

We've selected UC ANR specialists and advisors from throughout the state who possess a wide range of research and scientific expertise related to water and agriculture, and who have agreed to serve as interview subjects as their time and schedules permit. One of our experts is fluent in Spanish. Another is fluent in Italian.

Please contact a member of the UC ANR news and media staff with additional questions.


Jim Baird, Ph.D.
UC ANR Cooperative Extension turfgrass management specialist, based at UC Riverside
(951) 827-5630
cell (951) 333-9052

Dave Fujino, Ph.D.
Executive director, California Center for Urban Horticulture, based at UC Davis
(530) 754-7739

Missy Gable
Director, UC ANR Statewide Master Gardener Program
Home gardening, landscaping
(530) 750-1266

Thomas Harter, Ph.D.
UC ANR Cooperative Extension groundwater hydrologist, based at UC Davis (speaks fluent German)
(530) 752-2709

Loren Oki, Ph.D.
UC ANR Cooperative Extension landscape horticulture specialist, based at UC Davis
(530) 754-4135

Doug Parker, Ph.D.
Director, California Institute for Water Resources
UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist, statewide water policy
(510) 987-0036

Dan Putnam, Ph.D.
UC ANR Cooperative Extension agronomy specialist, based at UC Davis

Samuel Solis Sandoval, Ph.D.
UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist (speaks fluent Spanish), based at UC Davis
Municipal and agricultural water use
(530) 754-9646

David Sunding
UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist based at UC Davis
Water resource management
(510) 642-8229

Daniel Sumner, Ph.D.
UC ANR agricultural economist, based at UC Davis
Director, UC Agricultural Issues Center
(530) 752-1668

Daniele Zaccaria, Ph.D. (Out of the country till May 7; speaks fluent Italian)
UC ANR Cooperative Extension water management specialist, based at UC Davis
(530) 219-7502 cell (email first)

Central Valley

David Doll
UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisor, Merced County
almonds, pistachios, walnuts
(209) 385-7403
Twitter: @thealmonddoctor

Allan Fulton
UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisor, Tehama, Colusa, Glenn and Shasta counties
Irrigation and water resources
(530) 527-3101
(530) 200-2246 cell

Craig Kallsen
UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisor, Kern County
Citrus and pistachios
(661) 868-6221

Robert Hutmacher, Ph.D.
UC ANR Cooperative Extension agronomic crops specialist
Director, UC West Side Research and Extension Center
(559) 260-8957

Dan Munk
UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisor, Fresno County
Irrigation and drainage
(559) 241-7521
(559) 284-6674 cell

Karrie Reid
UC ANR Cooperative Extension Environmental horticulture advisor, San Joaquin County
Landscaping under drought conditions
(209) 953-6109

Blake Sanden
UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisor, Kern County
Irrigation, soil, water
(661) 868-6218

Central Coast

Michael Cahn
UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisor, Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties
Irrigation and water resources, vegetables and berries
(831) 759-7377

Ben Faber
UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisor, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties
Water, soils and subtropical crops, such as avocado and citrus
(805) 645-1462

Southern California

Janet Hartin
UC ANR Cooperative Extension environmental horticulture advisor, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Riverside counties
Landscape and turfgrass irrigation/graywater use
(951) 313-2023

Darren Haver, Ph.D.
UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisor, Orange County
Landscaping and drought
(949) 653-1814
Twitter: @DHaverUCANR

Dennis Pittenger
UC ANR Cooperative Extension area environmental horticulturist, based at UC Riverside
Landscape irrigation management
(951) 827-3320

Northern California

Steve Orloff
UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisor, Siskiyou County
Alfalfa and irrigated pasture
(530) 842-2711


Posted on Friday, April 24, 2015 at 9:24 AM
Tags: drought (13)

Drought issues will be part of University of California desert field day

A previous field day at the UC Desert Research and Extension Center.
An update on the California drought tops the agenda for the Agronomic Crops and Water Conservation Field Day, 7 a.m. to 12 noon April 16 at the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources research and extension center in the Imperial Valley.

Presentations will be made at six stops on a tour of the UC Desert Research and Extension Center, 1004 E. Holton Rd., Holtville. Visitors will see alfalfa produced with subsurface irrigation, an approach that cuts water use by reducing evaporation from the soil surface.

Research results from variety trials and deficit irrigation studies will be presented. In deficit irrigation, water is withheld at specific times during the crop's development so that yield loss is minimized despite water cutbacks.

In addition to alfalfa research, the field day includes presentations on oil crops, bell peppers, sugarbeets, giant king grass and sorghum. Irrigation technology and insect control will also be discussed.

The complete agenda is posted online on the UC Alfalfa and Forage News Blog. The event is free and includes lunch courtesy of mOasis, a company that produces a product designed to optimize water usage in agriculture. Continuing education credit is available for certified crop advisers and pest control advisers.

The field day is sponsored by UC Cooperative Extension in Imperial County and the California Department of Water Resources. To reserve lunch or for more information, email Kahled Bali at kmbali@ucanr.edu or Oli Bachie at obachie@ucanr.edu.

An initiative to improve California water quality, quantity and security is part of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Strategic Vision 2025.

Posted on Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 2:57 PM
Tags: alfalfa (4), desert (1)

UC researchers awarded nearly $2 million for childhood obesity prevention project

Students who use the SmartMeal app to pre-order nutritious meals will be able to pick up food at an express location.
Researchers at the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources' Nutrition Policy Institute and UC Berkeley School of Public Health will use a nearly $2 million childhood obesity prevention grant from the U.S.  Department of Agriculture to evaluate a two-year school meal technology and design innovation project developed by the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). The project will measure the impact of 21st century student-centered strategies based on behavioral economics to increase student participation in the school lunch  program, reduce plate waste, improve dietary intake and reduce obesity among low-income youth.

The “Technology and Design Innovation to Support 21st Century School Nutrition” project will assess the impact of using a “SmartMeal” technology platform, distributed points of sale and staff promotion of school meals at 12 SFUSD middle and high schools. Sixty percent of the district's students are eligible for free and reduced-price meals, as part of the National School Lunch Program, the country's largest child nutrition program. The researchers say that improving dietary intake among low-income youth is essential to reducing obesity, and schools are arguably the most important venue for change. 

“Improving school meals is critical for addressing social inequities to healthful food access, said Lorrene Ritchie, Ph.D., RD, UCANR Nutrition Policy Institute director, Cooperative Extension specialist and co-primary investigator. “Poor nutrition is a primary cause of the obesity epidemic that threatens the health of American children, especially in low-income communities. We are targeting schools for interventions because most school-age children spend half of their waking hours and consume up to half of their daily calories in school.”

Mobile food carts will help students avoid long cafeteria lines.
The project will use cutting-edge strategies reflecting scientific knowledge about behavior change among teens to increase school meal participation and reduce plate waste. For example, research has shown that convenience is a primary determinant of student behavior, and long meal lines and hectic cafeterias are a barrier to student participation. The project seeks to circumvent these hassles by giving students access to healthy foods in mobile food carts and vending machines outside the cafeteria. It also will feature a SmartMeal e-application that delivers nutrition education and school meal promotion to students on their smart phones and tablet computers provided by the district. Students who use the app to pre-order nutritious meals will be able to bypass long lines by going to an express food pick-up location.

“This project will test whether we can change behavior by addressing the reality of today's adolescent lifestyles,” said Kristine Madsen, MD, associate professor in the School of Public Health and co-primary investigator.

“Mobile phones are ubiquitous among teens from diverse economic backgrounds, which makes this technology an ideal tool for promoting healthful food choices and nutrition education.”

The Nutrition Policy Institute was created in 2014 by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, the division of the University of California charged with sharing research-based information with the public about healthy communities, nutrition, agricultural production and environmental stewardship. NPI seeks to improve nutrition and health in low-income communities in California and the nation by engaging in research and communications that inform, build and strengthen policy. Visit NPI online at http://npi.ucanr.edu. SFUSD's Future Dining Experience (http://www.sfusdfuturedining.org/) is funded by USDA and the Sara & Evan Williams Foundation.

Posted on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 12:12 PM

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