Forests in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascade Range are being stressed by a number of factors that put them at risk. High-severity wildfire, drought stress, insect outbreaks, disease, and a backdrop of changing climate all pose a threat to the persistence of these forests. These factors can work individually or combine to magnify the impacts on forests. For example, the 2012–2016 drought led to tree stress that increased susceptibility to bark beetles. However, there are land management options that can help landowners increase forest health.
A significant portion of Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades forests are owned and managed as small parcels (10 to 100 acres) by nonindustrial private landowners. This handbook is for such landowners; it provides succinct, straight-forward, and thorough information to help them develop a sound forest management strategy for their property. This handbook was assembled by synthesizing information from a large body of current scientific literature, including printed and online sources, that provides relevant technical information for forest landowners. It is organized in a step-by-step manner to help landowners assess the condition of their property to make informed decisions rooted in the best available science. The handbook is built around four main chapters with attending worksheets that enable landowners to build a California cooperative forest management plan. The plan will help determine what, if any, management action(s) is needed on your land; how to obtain technical and financial support; and what, if any, permits may be necessary. This handbook uses easy to understand language that does not require any specific training in forest science or management.