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The Feather River. Credit: USFS on Flickr
The Feather River. Credit: USFS on Flickr

California’s forested ecosystems face widespread threats—overgrowth, drought, insects, wildfires—and the warming climate will only intensify these risks and further threaten the social, economic, and environmental benefits forests provide. Limited resources, enormous urgency, and high stakes to increase the pace and scale of forest restoration require land managers and downstream beneficiaries to set priorities for management investments.

The California Natural Resources Agency and CA Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with Tribes and federal agencies, are developing an integrated spatial assessment and prioritization tool to highlight strategic locations for multi-benefit forest management and restoration investment planning. Referred to as California FORESITE, the project entails a 7-million-acre landscape assessment in northeastern California’s source headwaters and will include spatially-explicit quantification of natural resource asset conditions and threats, focused on forests, carbon, biodiversity, and water.

  • This analysis, involving large and complex forested landscapes, is focused on delivering data and analytics at a watershed-level resolution that are transparent and updatable for use by agencies and regional groups.
  • To help ensure the utility of the FORESITE assessment and tool, a broad representation of state and federal interagency staff, Tribes, and regional planning groups are involved in project development, including determining data and methods to be used.
  • The project is being simultaneously designed and coded to enable FORESITE to scale statewide upon project conclusion in order to support investment planning decisions throughout California’s forested landscapes.