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Inconsistent application of environmental laws and policies to California's oak woodlandsAuthor(s): Gregory A. Giusti; Adina M. Merenlender
Source: In: Standiford, Richard B., et al, tech. editor. Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium on Oak Woodlands: Oaks in California's Challenging Landscape. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-184, Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: 473-482
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
PDF: View PDF (390 KB)
DescriptionWe examine inconsistencies in the application of environmental laws and policies to California's oak woodlands and associated resources. Specifically, large-scale vegetation removals receive different levels of environmental oversight depending on location, tree species, and the final land use designation. Hence, situations arise where the scale of impacts to the ecosystem can be similar but are regulated differently depending on forest type. These inconsistencies can lead to environmental impacts, confusion, and inherent inequities among private landowners. The historical, institutional, and political climate under which the Forest Practice Act and California Environmental Quality Act were developed has resulted in the dichotomy that oak woodlands face. We use agricultural development in California’s North Coast watersheds and the potential impacts to anadromous fish conservation to illustrate the problem. Examining this scenario provides a better understanding of how and why oak woodland resources continue to diminish in some parts of California. We also explore improvements that should be made to provide environmental review and full disclosure to ensure fair and equitable protection of natural resources and consequences for landowners. These include more emphasis on consistent environmental review, ecosystem management, watershed level planning, and protection of natural communities in addition to individual tree protection.
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CitationGiusti, Gregory A.; Merenlender, Adina M. 2002. Inconsistent application of environmental laws and policies to California''s oak woodlands. In: Standiford, Richard B., et al, tech. editor. Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium on Oak Woodlands: Oaks in California''s Challenging Landscape. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-184, Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: 473-482
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