SIG developed a method for measuring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions resulting from implementing California Forest Practice Laws and Regulations. This project, completed to support CALFIRE, was specifically designed to complete two of five tasks from the budget change proposal BCP associated with the 2010 California Assembly Bill 1504 on equitable and fair use of both commercial and public forest resources.

The first task was to develop a work plan to specify what factors and activities needed to be analyzed, what temporal (to address 2030 or 2050 GHG reductions targets) and spatial (forest types and geographic areas) framework those factors and activities would be analyzed within, and then recommend approaches for life cycle analysis of the GHG emissions from these activities. These “factors” included things like standing live and dead trees, downed wood, and soil organic matter. “Activities” included actions such as pile burning, harvesting practices, silvicultural methods and limitations imposed by state and federal fish and wildlife law and regulations.

Throughout the process, SIG worked closely with stakeholders to review and summarize the best existing data, analytical methods, forest growth models, and climate models. SIG then identified research needs and information gaps, and put its’ findings out for peer review and public analysis. SIG also collaborated with the California Air Resources Board, the US Forest Service, and others to develop methods to track and analyze forest-based GHG emissions, and the effects of forest management and regulatory activities on carbon sequestration.

Finally, SIG provided a draft methodology for measuring the annual sequestration of timberlands in California in to CALFIRE Fire and Resources Assessment Program staff. The methodology was designed to be consistent and comparable with analyses done in previous GHG assessments, so that CALFIRE would have an up-to-date way to measure the states GHG emissions that was consistent with current technologies and methodologies.