PAC discusses forest management
The UC President's Advisory Commission met Dec. 14 via Zoom as coronavirus precautions continued to discourage travel.
“It's the beginning of a new phase,” said President Drake, announcing that the first coronavirus vaccines would be arriving at UC medical centers the next day. Acknowledging that the pandemic has created challenges for everyone, Drake urged everyone to protect themselves as they continue to perform critically important activities for Californians.
In her update on UC ANR activities, VP Glenda Humiston announced that she and AVP Wendy Powers have accepted leadership roles in the Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU). Humiston is chair of the Budget and Legislative Committee for the Experiment Station Council on Policy (ESCOP) and Powers is chair-elect of the Extension Council on Policy (ECOP).
Humiston also briefed PAC members on the 2020 California Economic Summit that was held online Dec. 3-4. The statewide conference focused on improving economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, and social equity. Humiston spoke about the benefits to California of investing in wildfire reduction and forest restoration work.
Dan Sanchez, UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley, gave PAC members a presentation on how UC ANR and partners collaborate to advance forest health, reduce fire risk and develop jobs and economic growth with high-value products from biomass.
During a report from the ANR Governing Council, UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox, who is chair of the council, encouraged more collaboration between UC ANR and campuses. He suggested climate change as a subject for connecting UC ANR and campus expertise.
Humiston noted that she and Powers recently gave a presentation about UC ANR to UC vice chancellors of research, who expressed interest in working with UC ANR and Powers has been meeting with them regularly.
Continuing with the natural resources theme, Ish Herrera, California Forward director of regional stewardship, gave a presentation on wood products and Eric Holst, Environmental Defense Fund associate vice president for working lands, gave presentations on forest management. Both see roles for UC ANR.
Herrera suggested UC could use wood products in building projects to create more of a market for trees removed to thin forests.
Fire management in forest ecosystems is one of more pressing issues in the state and ANR's interdisciplinary expertise makes it the “right organization, right time,” Holst said.
Deans gave reports on the School of Veterinary Medicine and the three Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) colleges affiliated with UC ANR.
In wrapping up the meeting, Drake lauded the group for “big thinking” and “broad thinking” to lift up society.
The PAC will meet again on March 22 via Zoom.