SIG, along with partners, has prepared reports for California’s 4th Climate Assessment, published in 2018. California, which led the nation when it produced its first climate assessment in 2006, continues to publish regular assessments to determine the health of the climate and its predicted changes and impacts on the health and financial welfare of California citizens. These Assessments also contribute to the advancement of science-based policies, plans, and programs so that California can continue being an effective climate leader.
SIG was an author/co-author for two of the reports that went into the fourth assessment. The first of which, entitled “Fuel Treatment for Forest Resilience and Climate Mitigation: A Critical Review for Coniferous Forests of California.”
Forest ecosystems in California contain some of the highest densities of carbon anywhere in the world but have been experiencing net above ground carbon loss from 2001 to 2010, largely driven by wildfires. As climate change progresses, science predicts that there will be an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires and a subsequent increase in California’s carbon emissions. But, fuel reduction treatments that reduce forest density and restore beneficial fire to the landscape can improve the resilience of forests and potentially minimize large and severe wildfires.
For this report, SIG reviewed what is known about the effects of fuel treatments on stored forest carbon, wildfire risk and wildfire emissions in California’s forests and summarized geo-spatial data gaps that need to be filled in order to make good fuel treatment decisions that both increase forest resilience and carbon sequestration. In addition to supporting the Assessment, the report provides a scientific basis for developing carbon offset methodologies that could generate revenue to implement beneficial climate projects in California, protecting California’s climate, economy and health.