Forest stewardship is a general approach to forest management that meets the needs of current owners but doesn't detract from or degrade the use by future generations. Forest stewardship is based on conservation principles that ensure protection of all forest resources including wildlife, timber, soil, water recreational opportunities and natural beauty. Forest stewards actively manage their land on a long-term basis by following management objectives that are based on multiple resources, are economically viable and conserve natural resources.
Sound forest stewardship is both an art and a science. At its core, stewardship is the management of the vegetation, which includes management of young and old trees, shrubs and the herbaceous plants. Whether your goals are to manage for an economic return from timber harvesting; maintain or enhance wildlife habitat; improve the aesthetics; restore the forest; maintain a certain stand characteristic; or to recover from a disturbance event such as a wildfire, wind or ice storm, it is important to understand how different vegetation management strategies can help accomplish your goals.
Simply stated, there is a great deal more to forest stewardship today than just growing cutting and marketing trees. In today's world, landowners need to know many things to be successful forest stewards. Information on California forest topics provided on this website (listed on the left tabs) is intended to provide a foundation for landowners and residents to achieve their stewardship objectives.
For those seeking economic returns, it is essential to be informed about markets, costs, and regulatory requirements. Landowners today must consider their place in the community and how their activities can influence their neighbors, other species, and other forest users. Developing a forest stewardship plan is key to ensuring that your vision of how you want the forest around to look is achieved.
Forestland management decisions are implemented over a long time span, often exceeding an individual's lifetime. Estate planning is critical to ensure the long-term duration of your forest management goals. Even if your decision is to do nothing, and let the forest take care of itself, that decision affects a multitude of resources.
Forest stewardship series: The University of California Cooperative Extension developed a 25-part, free, online publication series to provide owners of California forestland with a comprehensive source of information pertinent to the management and enjoyment of their lands. This information will help you formulate and implement strategies for achieving your personal goals as a landowner. The series provides an introduction to the lifelong study of forest stewardship that is part of owning forest property.
Forest Stewardship Series 1 - 25 (download)
Forest Stewardship Video Series for Landowners: A series of videos have been produced to illustrate the importance of developing a stewardship plan for your forest property. Landowners and practicing foresters discuss the types of plans and how these help landowners accomplish their general goals for ownership.
Forest Stewardship E-learning Tool: Landowners can start their forest management planning process through a new self-paced e-learning tool we have developed. This can be accessed at: http://ucanr.edu/forestplan.
This site provides a broad overview of the importance of management plans, presents general information on how to assess what you have on your forest property, gives a general overview of forest ecology and management tools, and illustrates the importance of connecting with a Registered Professional Forester to put their dreams into practice. The learning site also introduces owners to some of the state and federal programs that help to offset the cost of developing a forest management plan.