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Posts Tagged: Maggi Kelly

December news clips

Keith Gilless, left, and Maggi Kelly, second from right, discussed wildfire at the Commonwealth Club on Dec. 4.

Franz Niederholzer - 2019 New Year's Profile

(Appeal-Democrat), Dec 31

https://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/franz-niederholzer---new-year-s-profile/article_071c961e-0d8a-11e9-b7a9-2ba8813a8968.html

Keeping Up with Navel Infections

(Dairy Herd Management) Emre Gürdal and Noelia Silva del Rio, Dec. 31

https://www.dairyherd.com/guest-author/emre-gurdal-and-noelia-silva-del-rio-university-california-cooperative-extension

How Do Wildfires Start?

(Live Science) Donavyn Coffey, Dec. 28

…In other words, "a source [of heat] hits receptive fuel that's dry enough to burn," said Lenya Quinn-Davidson, a fire analyst for the University of California Cooperative Extension forestry program in Northern California. In the right conditions, those three factors are all it takes to set a wildfire in motion.

…However, ignition is only the beginning. For a spark to grow into a sustained wildfire, there must be a perfect combination of factors, such as "dry conditions and really strong winds," Quinn-Davidson told Live Science. And because of climate change, dry conditions are lasting longer and, in turn, causing longer fire seasons.

https://www.livescience.com/64378-how-do-wildfires-start.html

Analyzing The Use of Selective Dry Cow Therapy

(Dairy Herd Management) Fernanda C. Ferreira and Emmanuel Okello, Dec 27

https://www.dairyherd.com/guest-author/fernanda-c-ferreira-and-emmanuel-okello-university-california-cooperative-extension

Private woodlands lost to California wildfire — and may not be replaced

(SF Chronicle) Peter Fimrite Dec. 25,

…It costs about $400 per acre to reforest land, said Bill Stewart, a forestry specialist at UC Berkeley who has studied forest restoration programs after fires.

“A lot of (small property owners) ... don't have the cash or professionals to do the job,” he said. They “take a big financial hit when their forests are caught in a wildfire.”

…Max Moritz, a wildfire specialist at the University of California Cooperative Extension, said wholesale clearing is not always necessary. The rush to clear the land, he said, can result in healthy trees being cut down.

“Many trees can survive pretty bad crown scorch, so there's generally no urgency to get them out, or there shouldn't be, anyway,” said Moritz, an adjunct professor at UC Santa Barbara. “This is especially true of species that resprout, like several of the oaks and also redwoods.”

https://www.sfchronicle.com/california-wildfires/article/Private-woodlands-lost-to-California-wildfire-13489574.php

Get to know your wasps: University of California entomologist addresses misconceptions

(Press Democrat) Kate Frey, Dec. 21

Rachael Long, a University of California Cooperative Extension entomologist and crop adviser, recently told me a story about three wasps that people frequently encounter around their homes and often have misconceptions about.

https://www.pressdemocrat.com/lifestyle/9077426-181/get-to-know-your-wasps

Gene Editing Finds its Way to the Farm

(Dairy Herd Management) Clinton Griffiths, Dec. 21

…Alison Van Eenennaam, animal geneticist, University of California-Davis, says edits that create polled herds will soon be common.

“It's kind of like a pair of molecular scissors, if you will, that you can tell to go and cut the DNA at a very precise location in the genome,” Van Eenennaam explains. “What that enables you to do is go in and very precisely alter one particular gene of the thousands of genes that make up the genome, and you can introduce useful genetic variations.”

https://www.dairyherd.com/article/gene-editing-finds-its-way-farm

Farm Bill Set to Bring Several Benefits to California Growers

(AgNet West) Brian German, Dec. 19

...“There's some really good stuff in it for California, I mean first of all, getting a farm bill is fantastic,” said Vice President of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Glenda Humiston. “Some really good things for beginning farmers and ranchers, and veterans' efforts in ag.  One thing that's really potentially exciting for California in the rural development title is increasing   the eligibility of communities up to 50,000 for some of the programs.”

http://agnetwest.com/farm-bill-benefits-california-growers

Gene-edited farm animals are coming. Will we eat them?

(Washington Post) Carolyn Y. Johnson, Dec. 17

...“Right now. This is exciting, right this minute,” animal geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam said as she waited for a tiny blob of a fetus to materialize on a laptop screen on a recent afternoon at the Beef Barn, part of the University of California at Davis's sprawling agricultural facilities for teaching and research.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/national/wp/2018/12/17/feature/gene-edited-farm-animals-are-coming-will-we-eat-them

Commentary: Is Atascadero prepared?

(Atascadero  News) Ray Weymann, Dec. 14 

…But often, even 10 feet from a house takes one into a neighbor's property. Whether this means mandating more aggressive tree and brush clearing, and reevaluation of building codes for new and existing structures, is something the new council should consider, availing themselves with input from our local fire department but also from people like Jack Cohen. Another wildfire expert, Max Moritz, suggests that governments must be more aggressive in not allowing development in areas especially vulnerable to wildfire.

https://atascaderonews.com/article/commentary-is-atascadero-prepared

Ceres Imaging unveils cumulative stress index

 (Successful Farming) Laurie Bedord, Dec. 14 

...“Findings over the last four years show that the average Ceres Imaging conductance measurement from its imagery over the season has provided the best correlation with applied water,” says Blake Sanden, a Kern County University of California Cooperative Extension farm adviser. “While there's no perfect predictor of final yield, Ceres Imaging aerial sensing of canopy plant stress has a significant relationship with final yield.”

https://www.agriculture.com/news/technology/ceres-imaging-unveils-cumulative-stress-index 

New Farm Bill Provides Funds For Research In California ‘Ag,' But No Big Boons

(Capital Public Radio) Julia Mitric, Dec. 13

…"What's fascinating about the Farm Bill is, after all that hyper-partisan debate … it's really a lot of the same of what we already had," said Glenda Humiston, vice president of University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Humiston is pleased that California will get an increase of $25 million a year for research of specialty crops, agricultural jargon for fruits, vegetables and nuts, as opposed to commodity crops like soybeans, corn and wheat. Those federal grants will cover many areas, from adapting farming to the effects of climate change to finding cures for California's many invasive pests, Humiston said.

http://www.capradio.org/articles/2018/12/13/new-farm-bill-provides-funds-for-research-in-california-ag-but-no-big-boons/

Can California Improve Forest Management And Prevent Wildfires Without Going Broke?

(Capital Public Radio) Ezra Romero, Dec. 13

...But can California expand programs like forest-thinning and controlled burns and manage its forests on the cheap?

UC Berkeley forestry specialist Bill Stewart says yes. “There's certain areas that it is going to cost you $700 an acre, but other acres you can treat for $50 or $100 an acre,” Stewart said.

http://www.capradio.org/articles/2018/12/14/can-california-improve-forest-management-and-prevent-wildfires-without-going-broke

Technology advances impact production efficiency

(AgriNews) Martha Blum, Dec. 13

“I'm passionate about genetics and sticking up for technology because if we don't stand up for it, we're not going to have access to it,” said Alison Van Eenennaam, Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Animal Science at University of California, Davis.

“The livestock industry doesn't have access to GMOs because of the debate around plant GMOs,” Van Eenennaam said during a presentation at the 2018 American Agri-Women Convention.

http://www.agrinews-pubs.com/news/technology-advances-impact-production-efficiency/article_09c46363-7755-543d-9048-080f319605fe.html 

Lindcove squeezes 100 citrus varieties into one tasting

(Sun Gazette) Dec. 12

The University of California citrus research center swings open its doors this week to give farmers and the public the opportunity to view and taste more than 100 varieties of citrus.

http://www.thesungazette.com/article/business/2018/12/12/lindcove-squeezes-100-citrus-varieties-into-one-tasting

Can Rakes Save Forests? Yes, As Long As You Have A Drip Torch In The Other Hand, UC ANR Says

(Sierra Sun-Times) Susie Kocher, Rob York, and Lenya Quinn-Davidson, Dec. 12 

https://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/local-news/16733-can-rakes-save-forests-yes-as-long-as-you-have-a-drip-torch-in-the-other-hand-uc-anr-says

Have shears, will travel

(California Bountiful) Ching Lee

…Sheep owners, particularly those with small flocks, have had trouble finding shearers for years—and the smaller their flock, the harder it is to get someone to shear for them because shearers are paid by the number of animals they shear, said John Harper, a UC livestock and natural resources advisor who has run the annual shearing program for nearly 25 years.

http://www.californiabountiful.com/features/article.aspx?arID=2199

Could legalizing cannabis help the environment?

(Physics World) Kate Ravilious, Dec. 11

Using high resolution satellite imagery for the years 2012 and 2016, Van Butsic  from the University of California, Berkeley and his colleagues found a boom in cultivation of cannabis in Mendocino and Humboldt Counties. By zooming right in, the researchers could identify the distinctive shape of the cannabis plants, the regular pattern in which the crop is planted, and the greenhouses perched in unusual places.

...“The chances of environmental damage are much greater in these regions because of the high potential for erosion, which threatens water quality, high potential for using water directly from headwaters, and the need to build roads to access these farms,” says Butsic.

https://physicsworld.com/a/could-legalizing-cannabis-help-the-environment/

What Does It Take To Defend Your Home Against A Mega Wildfire Like The Camp Fire? Here's How One Couple Survived

(Capital Public Radio) Ezra David Romero, Dec. 11

...Earlier this year, University of California system forest advisor Yana Valachovic toured the Carr Fire burn area in Redding.

“What surprised me there was how many of the stucco homes were lost and they were surrounded by green lawn,” Valachovic recalled. “What the mechanism of entry was is that they had a ring of vegetation right around the outside of their house.”

Susie Kocher, a forest adviser for the Lake Tahoe region with the UC Cooperative Extension, often works with homeowners that live within the Angora Fire burn area. That blaze destroyed about 250 homes in Lake Tahoe in 2008. A decade later, Kocher said people still aren't properly preparing their homes.

“There's still a lot of flammable plants planted right under picture windows,” Kocher said, adding that people have almost set themselves up for failure, “perhaps in the mistaken belief that they are kind of safe now because there's no big trees.”

http://www.capradio.org/articles/2018/12/10/what-does-it-take-to-defend-your-home-against-a-mega-wildfire-like-the-camp-fire-heres-how-one-couple-survived

https://www.kpbs.org/news/2018/dec/11/what-does-it-take-defend-your-home-against-mega-wi

Wildfire scientists brace for hotter, more flammable future as Paradise lies in ashes

(CNN) Bill Weir, Dec. 10

…"Well, my colleague Katharine Hayhoe says climate change is like gravity," says Dr. Faith Kearns. "Climate change doesn't really care if you believe in it or not. It's reality. We have gravity, we have climate change."

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/10/us/california-wildfires-climate-weir-wxc/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2018/12/10/paradise-california-wildfire-climate-change-weir-pkg-vpx.cnn

Are Your Bananas at Risk?

(BYU Radio) Top of Mind, Dec. 10

Guest: Norman C. Ellstrand, Distinguished Professor of Genetics, Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside

...Here in the US, there's only one kind of banana in the supermarket – sweet, yellow, no seeds, about as long as your hand. It's a variety called Cavendish and it dominates the international banana market. Which turns out to be a big problem.

https://www.byuradio.org/episode/b36d0128-3422-4c37-8248-a705f0536d82/top-of-mind-with-julie-rose-negotiation-deceit-forecasting-earthquakes-measuring-pain-bananas-risk

Jeff Mitchell: Conservation No-Till Is One Option For Water Conservation

(Cal Ag Today) Patrick Cavanaugh, Dec. 10

Jeff Mitchell is a Cropping Systems Specialist at UC Davis, based at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier. He has devoted his 19 years to improving nitrogen and water use efficiencies in food, feed, fuel and fiber in no-till cropping systems.

https://californiaagtoday.com/jeff-mitchell-conservation-no-till-one-option-water-conservation/

Solano 4-H schedules Fairfield open house

(Fairfield Daily Republic) Susan Hiland, Dec. 9

The Solano County 4-H Youth Development Program will host a 4-H open house from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday on the first floor of the University of California Cooperative Extension Office, 501 Texas St.

https://www.dailyrepublic.com/all-dr-news/solano-news/fairfield/solano-4-h-schedules-fairfield-open-house

California State Fair Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition opens Jan. 8

(Lake Co News) Dec. 8

…The California State Fair is proud to announce the head judge for the 2019 competition, Mr. Paul Vossen. Vossen will employ his expertise and experience at the California State Fair olive oil judging to lead the team of 15 Judges and ensure a fair and ethical judging process.
With more than 30 years of experience in the field as a University of California Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor in Sonoma County, Paul Vossen offers practical advice to large commercial ventures and hobby farmers alike for clients around the world.

http://www.lakeconews.com/index.php/news/business/59141-california-state-fair-extra-virgin-olive-oil-competition-opens-jan-8

Getting the Facts Straight on Dairies

(California Dairy) Dec. 7

The inaugural California Dairy Sustainability Summit in Sacramento last month was a big hit.  Conference presentations not only focused on what California dairy producers can do to increase their sustainability efforts, but also on how producers can better share their stories and correct some of the common misconceptions that have been circulating the public.  Check out this video with Frank Mitloehner, Air Quality Specialist from the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis, who shared the facts, and read more about it in California Dairy Magazine. 

http://www.californiadairymagazine.com/2018/12/07/getting-the-facts-straight-on-dairies

Why Californians Were Drawn Toward the Fire Zones

(Wall St Journal) Jeffrey Ball, Dec. 7

…Lax building codes are at the base of the problem. Even in California, which has some of the toughest such rules in the country, they often aren't adequate or adequately enforced. The codes often dictate the use of fire-retardant materials in house construction but typically say nothing about how a development must be situated on the landscape—and that can help determine whether that development will burn in a fire, says Max Moritz, a cooperative-extension wildfire specialist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “So the developers are able to come in, propose something, and often, without too much oversight, walk away after having built something in a dangerous place,” he says. “And we pick up the tab.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-californians-were-drawn-toward-the-fire-zones-1544202053?mod=e2tw

Cutting down Christmas trees on public land is good for forest management: expert

(KTVU) Lisa Fernandez, Dec. 7

A forestry advisor for the University of California is a big proponent of cutting down Christmas trees on public land as an inexpensive, family-friendly holiday ritual and a way to thin the forests of excessive small trees. 

Susie Kocher, who works for the UC Cooperative Extension, has been trekking to the U.S. Forest Service land for the last two decades -- saw and $10 permit in hand -- to cut down her own white fir.  

http://www.ktvu.com/news/cutting-down-christmas-trees-on-public-land-is-good-for-forest-management-expert

http://www.fox10phoenix.com/facebook-instant/cutting-down-christmas-trees-on-public-land-is-good-for-forest-management-expert

https://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/local-news/16681-can-harvesting-california-christmas-trees-help-the-forest 

Researchers study how to enrich soil

 (Appeal-Democrat) Ruby Larson, Dec. 6

Soil health and research on using cover crops were discussed by farmers, researchers and others at the University of California Cooperative Extension's Soil Health and Cover Crop Field Day on Thursday morning.

Dozens gathered for a presentation on the Healthy Soils Project, which the local UCCE is participating in. The project focuses on managing soil health, changes in soil carbon and reducing greenhouse gases.

…Amber Vinchesi and Sarah Light, agronomy adviser for UCCE Sutter-Yuba, gave a demonstration on how they would test for greenhouse gasses during the course of the project.

https://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/researchers-study-how-to-enrich-soil/article_5e642f10-fa14-11e8-b2fe-779419738557.html

Climate Extremes: the New Norm

(Santa Barbara Independent) Laura Capps, Dec. 6

...“We need to change our perspective to one of co-existing with fire instead of fighting it,” said Dr. Max Moritz, a University of California wildfire scientist. “Fire isn't going away anytime soon. We need to locate and build our communities accordingly so that we reduce our vulnerability over the long term to this essential and inevitable natural process that is wildfire.”

https://www.independent.com/news/2018/dec/06/climate-extremes-new-norm

Will More Permits To Chop Down Christmas Trees Help Thin California Forests And Prevent Wildfires? (AUDIO)

(Capital Public Radio) Ezra David Romero, Dec 5

In a patch of forest a few miles from Lake Tahoe's shore, Susie Kocher and her family are crunching through the snow to find a Christmas tree.

…"It's a great win-win solution,” said Kocher, who is also a forest advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension for the Lake Tahoe area. “You get the public out in the forest, you do good work reducing the density of the trees."

http://www.capradio.org/articles/2018/12/05/will-more-permits-to-chop-down-christmas-trees-help-thin-california-forests-and-prevent-wildfires/

Wildland fire research and impacts on nut orchards

(Western Farm Press) Logan Hawkes, Dec 5

..So far, tree nut damages or other agricultural losses in the deadly Camp Fire are unknown according to UCANR Sustainable Orchard Farm Advisor Luke Milliron in Butte County.

https://www.farmprogress.com/tree-nuts/wildland-fire-research-and-impacts-nut-orchards

Fruit tree owners get free lesson in pruning

(The Californian) John Karlik, Dec 5

Even those with the greenest thumbs may need some guidance when it comes to pruning trees. The University of California Cooperative Extension office is here to help again with its annual fruit tree pruning demonstrations on Dec. 12 and 13.

Starting at noon both days in the orchard of the cooperative's office, ag adviser Mohammad Yaghmour will show attendees how to trim back trees including apple, apricot, cherry and almond as well as grapevines. 

https://www.bakersfield.com/entertainment/fruit-tree-owners-get-free-lesson-in-pruning/article_5ddb2cb8-f1c9-11e8-a83b-b717e64f0168.html

Camp Fire Impacted Local Prescribed Fire Training

(My Mother Lode) Tracey Petersen, Dec 5

...The 20 participants were to get hands-on fire experience to better understand the art and science of fire management and ecology. However, organizer and Natural Resources Advisor at the University of California Cooperative Extension – Central Sierra Susan Kocher relays that due to the explosion of the Camp Fire no flames could be ignited for the training because the required back up resources were called to battle the mega blaze. She adds it is an ongoing problem regarding using prescribed burns for fire prevention.  “I really think it shows just our exact dilemma. It's hard to get ahead of disasters because you're busy responding to disasters,” advised Kocher. “So, we just need to do everything we can to try and burn at all times of year to try to get ahead of these tragic wildfires that are happening.”

https://www.mymotherlode.com/news/local/513777/camp-fire-impacted-local-prescribed-fire-training.html

The New Abnormal: A Town Hall on California's Fires and the Future

(Commonwealth Club) Dec. 4, 2018

… To address some of these critical and urgent questions, please join The Commonwealth Club for a special free town hall on California's fires and what can be done in the short and long term to prepare for them. 

Guests:

J. Keith Gilless, Chair, California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection; Professor of Forest Economics, UC Berkeley

Thom Porter, Chief of Strategic Planning, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)

Kurtis Alexander, Water, Wildfire and Climate Writer, San Francisco Chronicle

Maggi Kelly, Professor and Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Environmental Science, Policy and Management 

https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/archive/video/new-abnormal-town-hall-californias-fires-and-future

Valley's Gold: Food Safety

(Valley's Gold) Dec. 4

Learn about the economic engine that drives the region, Agriculture. With host Ryan Jacobsen

UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Specialist Elizabeth Lopez shares food safety tips and tools in this PBS episode starting at the 18:32 mark.

https://www.pbs.org/video/valleys-gold-food-safety-bqfgv4

San Diego County wants to build 10,000 new homes in fire-prone areas

(San Diego Union Tribune) Joshua Emerson Smith, Dec. 3

…What these building codes and other rules don't take into account is whether a particular project should be built at all, said Max Moritz, a cooperative extension specialist in wildfire at the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara.

“There's all these hazards that we use to guide our building and our zoning from floods to landslides, and fire is not one of them,” Moritz said.

“In the end, the taxpayer is left holding the bill for all this,” he added. “The developer may do a really good job at designing and convincing everybody that it's the right thing to do, but after they walk away, the public is left doing fuels maintenance for decades, and the public picks up the bill when there's a disaster.”

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/public-safety/sd-me-wildfire-housing-protection-20181203-story.html

California is managing its forests — but is the president managing its federal lands?

(NBC News) James Rainey, Dec. 2

...Scott Stephens, a University of California, Berkeley professor of fire science, said the fire cataclysms of the last two years seem to have ended a long era of inattention.

“We will start to change the trajectory,” he said, “so we won't have tragedies like we had in Paradise.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/california-managing-its-forests-president-managing-its-federal-lands-n942581

Subfreezing temperatures predicted for early Monday in Modesto area

(Modesto Bee) Deke Farrow, Dec. 2

...The University of California Cooperative Extension in Sacramento County offers more

Posted on Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 1:23 PM

UC ANR scientists contribute to California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment

The California Natural Resources Agency released California's Fourth Climate Change Assessment today (Monday, Aug. 27), at http://www.ClimateAssessment.ca.govUC Agriculture and Natural Resources scientists contributed substantially to the report.

The Fourth Assessment is broken down into nine technical reports on the following topics:

  • Agriculture 
  • Biodiversity and habitat 
  • Energy 
  • Forests and wildlife 
  • Governance 
  • Ocean and coast 
  • Projects, datasets and tools 
  • Public health 
  • Water 

The technical reports were distilled into nine regional reports and three community reports that support climate action by providing an overview of climate-related risks and adaptation strategies tailored to specific regions and themes.

The regional reports cover:

  • North Coast Region 
  • Sacramento Valley Region 
  • San Francisco Bay Area Region 
  • Sierra Nevada Region 
  • San Joaquin Valley Region 
  • Central Coast Region 
  • Los Angeles Region 
  • Inland South Region 
  • San Diego Region 

The community reports focus on:

  • The ocean and coast 
  • Tribal communities 
  • Climate justice 

All research contributing to the Fourth Assessment was peer-reviewed.

UC Cooperative Extension ecosystem sciences specialist Ted Grantham – who works in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley – is the lead author of the 80-page North Coast Region Report.  Among the public events surrounding the release of the Fourth Assessment is the California Adaptation Forum, Aug. 27-29 in Sacramento. For more information, see http://www.californiaadaptationforum.org/. Grantham is a speaker at the forum.

Other UC ANR authors of the North Coast Region Report are:

  • Lenya Quinn-Davidson, UC Cooperative Extension area fire advisor for Humboldt, Siskiyou, Trinity and Mendocino counties 
  • Glenn McGourty, UC Cooperative Extension viticulture and plant science advisor in Mendocino and Lake counties 
  • Jeff Stackhouse, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties 
  • Yana Valachovic, UC Cooperative Extension forest advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties

UC Cooperative Extension fire specialist Max Moritz contributed to sections of the main report on Forest Health and Wildfire and to the San Francisco Bay Area Report

UC ANR lead authors of technical reports were:

  • Economic and Environmental Implications of California Crop and Livestock Adaptations to Climate ChangeDaniel Sumner, director of UC ANR's Agricultural Issues Center 

  • Climate-wise Landscape Connectivity: Why, How and What NextAdina Merenlander, UC Cooperative Extension specialist 

  • Visualizing Climate-Related Risks to the Natural Gas System Using Cal-AdaptMaggi Kelly, UC Cooperative Extension specialist 
Dan Stark, staff research associate  for Humboldt and Del Norte counties, contributed to the pest section of Fuel Treatment for Forest Resilience and Climate Mitigation: A Critical Review for Coniferous Forests of California.
Posted on Monday, August 27, 2018 at 3:23 PM
  • Author: Jeannette Warnert
Focus Area Tags: Environment

Fewer big trees found in today's forests

Forest study finds fewer big trees and an increasing number of small trees. (Photo of Tenaya Canyon in the Sierra Nevada from Wikimedia Commons.)
A study conducted by scientists from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Cooperative Extension and the U.S. Geological Survey found that since 1930, the density of large trees in California has decreased, reported John Fowler of KTVU News Channel 2.

The story said scientists compared exquisitely detailed tree data collected in the 1920s and 1930s with tree surveys made between 2001 and 2010. They identified significant and rapid changes in basic forest structure. As large tree density fell across the state, and the density of small trees increased.

"The thing that I think is particularly worrisome is how widespread this is," said Maggi Kelley, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of  Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley. "These changes will have an impact on how animals use the forest, how fire moves through the forest and the way we view the forest."

"Our grandkids will definitely see a difference," she said.

The Los Angeles Times also covered the new research, which will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

LA Times reporter Taylor Goldenstein spoke to study co-author Mark Schwartz, a professor of environmental science and policy at UC Davis and director of the John Muir Institute of the Environment. Schwartz said a denser forest allows fire to travel faster, causing more devastation. After a fire, new, smaller trees grow that are more likely to catch fire, and the cycle continues.

“These are historically fire-maintained ecosystems,” Schwartz said. “The firemen are faced with this notion of when a fire is reported and started, do they go out and bring out helicopters, trucks and people and put the fire out or do they let it burn?”

Just how much the change in forest structure is due to fire suppression and how much results from climate change is hard to tell because the two are interrelated, Schwartz said.

National Geographic magazine invoked Peter, Paul and Mary's mournful ballad in its headline, "Where have all the big trees gone? They've gone to logging and housing - but especially to climate change."

Reporter Warren Cornwall wrote that no area was immune to the forests' decline, from the foggy northern coast to the Sierra Nevada mountains to the San Gabriels above Los Angeles.

The loss of big trees was greatest in areas where trees had suffered the greatest water deficit. Large trees in general appear to be more vulnerable to a water shortfall. Though the 2011-14 drought might have an impact on  forest change, it was not reflected in this study because the data was collected before the drought began.

Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 2:01 PM
Tags: climate change (94), drought (202), forest (21), Maggi Kelly (7), Mark Schwartz (1), wildfire (151)

The food vs. fuel debate: Growing biofuel in the U.S.

Studies suggest biofuel can be grown on 'marginal land,' but no standard definition of 'marginal land' exists.
In order to slow global climate change and achieve greater energy independence, Americans are showing an increasing interest in switching over to clean, renewable fuels made from home-grown crops. In fact, Congress has mandated that at least 16 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol be added to the U.S. fuel supply by 2022.

However, estimates suggest that growing crops to produce that much biofuel would require 40 to 50 million acres of land, an area roughly equivalent in size to the entire state of Nebraska.

“If we convert cropland that now produces food into fuel production, what will that do to our food supply?” asks Maggi Kelly, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and the director of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Statewide IGIS Program. “If we begin growing fuel crops on land that isn't currently in agriculture, will that come at the expense of wildlife habitat and open space, clean water and scenic views?”

Kelly and UC Berkeley graduate student Sarah Lewis are conducting research to better understand land-use options for growing biofuel feed stock. They used a literature search, in which the results of multiple projects conducted around the world are reviewed, aggregated and compared. 

“When food vs. fuel land questions are raised in the literature, authors often suggest fuel crops be planted on ‘marginal land,'” Kelly said. “But what does that actually mean? Delving into the literature, we found there was no standard definition of ‘marginal land.'”

Kelly and Lewis' literature review focused on projects that used geospatial technology to explicitly map marginal, abandoned or degraded lands specifically for the purpose of planting bioenergy crops. They narrowed their search to 21 papers from 2008 to 2013, and among them they found no common working definition of marginal land.

“We have to be careful when we talk about what is marginal. We have to be explicit about our definitions, mapping and modeling,” Kelly said. “In our lab, we are trying to understand the landscape under multiple lenses and prioritize different uses and determine how management regimes impact the land.”

The research report, titled Mapping the Potential for Biofuel Production on Marginal Lands: Differences in Definitions, Data and Models across Scales, was published in the International Journal for Geo-Information.

Click here for this story in Spanish.

An initiative to improve energy security and green technologies is part of UC Agriculture and Naturalist Resources Strategic Vision 2025.

 

Posted on Friday, November 21, 2014 at 7:45 AM
Tags: biofuel (12), climate change (94), Maggi Kelly (7)

Web-based tools' contribution to public participation and natural resource management

Because management projects in contentious natural resource contexts often involve finding reasonable compromise or shared understandings between participants, the success (or failure) of such management is partly about communicating information. Techniques for public participation continue to evolve in order to facilitate a more comprehensive flow of information to, from, and between diverse audiences.

The Internet is part of this evolution: web-based tools provide information exchange between diverse participants and stakeholders about complex environmental systems. But how effective are these tools and do they facilitate the flow of information required in adaptive management? Maggi Kelly, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, and Lynn Huntsinger, professor in ESPM at Berkeley, and graduate students Shasta Ferranto, Ken-ichi Ueda and Shufei Lei examined the role of the web in facilitating public participation through a case study - the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project (SNAMP) - a participatory adaptive management project focused on Forest Service vegetation management treatments in California’s Sierra Nevada with a participatory website.

Analyzing three years of website traffic data from Google Analytics, researchers found that the SNAMP website received over 71,000 unique visits from the United States and other countries. Site traffic peaked when quarterly “web updates”- emails sent out to stakeholders with information about the project and any updates - were sent. The data from an email survey conducted by the SNAMP Public Participation Team in 2010 showed that most survey respondents (72.2 percent) had visited the website. Email survey respondents also agreed that the website helped them keep up with SNAMP events, increased information transparency, was easy to use, and was a good source of information. The web also played a small, but important role in public consultation, by providing a discussion board for targeted questions and feedback between the public and SNAMP scientists. However, Internet technology did not actively support the two-way flow of information necessary for mutual learning. It complements, but does not substitute for, face-to-face interactions and public meetings; does not facilitate three-party conversations very well; and has a very small user base to generate sufficient online content and dialogue.

SNAMP website homepage.

Based on this case study, public participation is most effective when a combination of participatory tools are used, including the web, public meetings, active outreach, and open channels of communication for reaching a broad pool of participants needed for social networking. Website design should be adaptive, and website evolution and maintenance should be budgeted ahead and funded. User needs assessments are necessary to understand how the users collaborate and interact during the life of a project.

Full Reference: M.Kelly, S.Ferranto, K.Ueda, S.Lei, and L.Huntsinger. 2012. Expanding the table: the web as a tool for participatory adaptive management in California forests. Journal of Environmental Management 109: 1-11.

Posted on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 8:21 AM

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