The forests of the Sierra Nevada are the source of most of California’s water, and they support a rich diversity of plant and animal species. Public land forests are enjoyed by recreationists, but are also subject to grazing, mining and other uses. Forests on private lands are managed intensively for timber production, raising concerns about watershed health and wildlife habitat.
Below you can read more about the different issues facing public and private forest lands:
Stanislaus National Forest issues
Each year, millions of people travel to the Stanislaus Forest to recreate and to enjoy the scenic vistas of the mountains and river canyons. Many visitors don’t realize that national forests are not parks, but are instead lands that have a legal mandate to provide a wide range of "multiple uses" – including logging to provide wood products. CSERC engages at every opportunity to advocate for a better balance of those uses and to promote higher protections for water, wildlife and wild places.
The Stanislaus National Forest is also an important home for wildlife and plant species. The Forest's greatest economic value comes from the water resources that flow from the mountain watersheds. For many people, the Forest is primarily seen as a recreational playground.
National Forest environmental issues can often arise from the conflicting uses that occur on public lands, from logging to recreation. For many decades, the national forests of America have been hotbeds of controversy as Congress, industrial groups, anti-environmental organizations, and "local control" groups have pressed for high levels of logging, grazing, mining, road-building, and other uses on public forest lands. At the other end of the spectrum, there are extreme environmental groups that oppose any cutting of trees for forest management, even when dense thickets of second-growth forest pose high fire risk that threatens old growth trees and vulnerable wildlife. CSERC deals with all of those challenges as we look for balanced projects and policies that will avoid harm to the environment within the Stanislaus National Forest.
Here are some of the most important current issues facing the Stanislaus Forest
Decades ago, private lumber companies of our region primarily logged through selective cutting of the biggest, most profitable trees. Sierra Pacific Industries bought out competitors and took over most private commercial timberlands of the region.
Within a few years, SPI began aggressively logging its lands with widespread clear-cutting, followed by bulldozing, herbicide treatments, and the creation of evenly-spaced tree plantations.