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034 Cooperative Extension Forest Health Specialist

Submitter: Wlliam Stewart (Workgroup Chair )
Submit Date: 04-May-12
Proposal: Cooperative Extension Forest Health Specialist (Specialist )


Associated Documents


This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2012 cycle.



The state-wide need for a Cooperative Extension Forest Health Specialist with responsibilities for interactions among insects, climate, and vegetation management is critical. There are CE Specialists that are focused on hardwood range systems, but there is no individual who can address the important issues facing conifer forest systems. Global climate change will continue to modify environmental conditions. These changes can create stressful growing conditions that increase susceptibility of forest stands to insects and diseases. It is important to understand how vegetation management can mitigate or increase the risk of insect outbreaks, particularly in light of the potential for other critical interactions between vegetation management and risk of catastrophic fires. In addition, new invasive species continue to be introduced into California and these invaders change the interactions between the trees and their environment, increasing the risk to forest health. The individual holding this position will be at the center of important overlaps among members of the UC and federal research communities in global change, pest management, forest management, and fire management. Given the rapid population growth in forested areas of the state, and particularly on the western slope of the central Sierra, the extension education role of this individual will be critical in these urbanizing forests.
Posted Jul 2, 2012 11:03 AM by Timothy Paine
The need for Forest Health expertise in California is as great now as it has ever been. There are numerous reasons for this, including the potential impacts of climate change, invasive forest pests, and increasing population. At the same time, there has been a loss of positions dedicated to forest health research within the State. Over the last twenty years, numerous forest entomology and pathology research positions have been eliminated at the University of California and USDA Forest Service. Forest Pest Management positions have remained fairly stable, but these positions do not have the research emphasis and institutional support needed to address emerging forest health issues.

The University of California has many faculty and staff capable of addressing forest health issues. These personnel and associated working groups are featured in the proposal. However, what the University lacks is a position dedicated to forest health. There is need for such a position to bridge the gap between the University’s research capabilities and the interests of the forest health community. That community includes private landowners, non-profit groups, and forest-based industries dedicated to ensuring the health and sustainability of California’s forests.

I envision a position that understands the forest health issues in California, participates in and coordinates relevant applied research, and provides outreach and education to the forest health community. As outlined, the Cooperative Extension Forest Health Specialist position will do this. There is great need for this position and I fully support its creation.
Posted Jul 20, 2012 3:08 PM by Donald R Owen
The California Forest Pest Council (CFPC) strongly encourages UC to adopt and fill the position of a Cooperative Extension Forest Health Specialist. The CFPC is a nonprofit organization is an extensive and diverse membership of private, public and academic resource professionals and pest management specialists dedicated to protecting the health of California's native forests. We support this proposed Forest Health Extension position for all of the reasons detailed in Don Owen's comments (comment #2) and to provide a critical, and much needed, link between the University and forest managers and resource professionals who are responsible for maintaining and enhancing forest health.
Posted Jul 23, 2012 12:28 PM by California Forest Pest Council, Bob Rynearson, Chairperson.
I encourage filling this position. Expert advice on timber harvesting, forest management and restoration would help our staff provide higher quality land stewardship.
Posted Jul 23, 2012 12:54 PM by Bryan Largay
The majority of California’s private forestland owners, approximately 25 percent of the state’s forest land, are relatively small family ownerships, typically less than 1,500 acres with limited technical and financial resources. Forest health issues are becoming more important to small landowners because of climate changes, historic fire suppression policies, and continued population growth in both urban and rural areas covered by forests. Forest Landowners of California is an educational organization that advocates in the best interests of more than 11,000 non-industrial forest landowners covering more than 12 million acres throughout California. Non-industrial landowners need all the assistance available given the high cost and high level of regulation currently in place in California. The creation of a Forest Health Specialist would provide an opportunity to assist in technology transfer for these owners to discover and understand the latest forest science developments, pest management, invasive plant control and fire prevention methods while providing input to research in current and future forest health issues on conifer forests. Current ANR staffing does not include staff with specialization in Forest Health. Forest Landowners of California strongly supports the creation of a new Cooperative Extension Specialist position for Forest Health.

We appreciate the science-based knowledge that the UC Forestry Department and Cooperative Extension Specialists and Advisors provide to us through workshops, webinars, conferences and personal contacts. Each cooperative extension advisor is well known to our members and sought out regularly for advice and support. The creation of a Forest Health Specialist position would supplement the excellent work being done by the current specialists and county and regional advisors.

Posted Aug 4, 2012 7:31 AM by Forest Landowners of California
The devastation caused by the mountain pine beetle from British Columbia to New Mexico, and the potential role that insects had on the recent fires in Colorado and elsewhere illustrate the importance of developing more proactive approaches that can be utilized by private land managers. A UC forest health specialist would benefit our members who sustainably manage more than 5 million acres of timberlands by strengthening our linkages with the continuum of UC scientists and professionals from the campus-based scientists to advisors who work around the state. Spearheading cooperative research and demonstration endeavors to develop integrated pest management (IPM) techniques would be a valuable role for a university specialist in California. Using field plots across both UC forestlands and private lands for long-term research and development work would be crucial for developing strategies to increase the resiliency of both plantations and natural forest stands.
Posted Aug 6, 2012 11:48 AM by David Bischel, President, California Forestry Association

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