BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 417


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          Date of Hearing:  April 13, 2015 


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES


                                 Das Williams, Chair


          AB 417  
          (Dahle) - As Introduced February 19, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Forest practices:  resource conservation standards


          SUMMARY:  Expands the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection  
          (Board) authority to develop alternative stocking standards,  
          when necessary, to include the average residual basal area  
          approach of stocking. 


          EXISTING LAW, pursuant to the Z'Berg-Nejedly Forest Practice Act  
          of 1973 (FPA):


          1)Requires the Board to adopt rules and regulations such as the  
            Forest Practice Rules (FPR) to assure the continuous growing  
            and harvesting of commercial forest tree species and to  
            protect the soil, air, fish and wildlife, and water resources,  
            including but not limited to, streams, lakes, and estuaries. 

          2)Requires the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL  
            FIRE) to oversee the FPA and the FPR in consultation with  
            other public agencies and the interested public. The FPA and  
            FPR specifically govern, among other things; timber harvest  
            plans (THPs), Nonindustrial Timber Management Plans (NTMPs),  
            Program Timber Harvesting Plans (PTHPs), and other types of  
            plans related to timber operations on private lands in  








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            California.

          3)Within five years after completion of timber operations,  
            requires either of the following minimum stocking standards  
            for an area covered by a THP:

             a)   An average point count of 300 per acre, except for site  
               IV classification or lower (i.e., sites with the lowest  
               productivity potential), which shall have an average point  
               count of 150 per acre. (The point count of a tree is  
               determined by tree size. For example, a tree that is less  
               than four inches in diameter at breast height counts as one  
               point. A tree over 12 inches in diameter counts as six  
               points.);

             b)   An average residual basal area (i.e., the sum of tree  
               diameter for an acre) of at least 85 square feet per acre,  
               except for site II classification (i.e., sites with  
               intermediate productivity potential) or lower, which shall  
               have the minimum average residual basal area of 50 square  
               feet per acre. 

          4)Authorizes the Board to develop alternative stocking standards  
            for the average point count method of stocking if those  
            standards address the variables in forest characteristics and  
            achieve suitable resource conservation, but does not authorize  
            alternative stocking standards for average residual basal area  
            method.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS: 


          1)Stocking.  After timber has been harvested in an area,  
            stocking standards ensure that the area is restocked with  
            trees so that the timberland can be maintained. Stocking  








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            standards set the requirement for how many trees (point count)  
            must be replanted or, accounting for large and small trees,  
            the aggregate of tree diameters for an area (the basal area).  
            As the survival rate of seedlings has improved and concerns  
            about overstocking's impact on fire risk and forest health has  
            increased, there has been a desire to tailor stocking  
            standards to meet the forest's characteristics. 



            According to the Board, allowing alternative stocking  
            standards for the basal area will assist in restoring oak  
            woodlands. Douglas-fir can become established in oak woodland  
            stands, which jeopardizes the growth and regeneration of oaks.  
            Douglas-fir can quickly overtop oak trees, shade them out, and  
            suppress oak regeneration. Conifer encroachment threatens the  
            future of many oak woodlands in Northern California and is a  
            primary factor driving the loss of oak woodlands in Humboldt  
            County. An alternative stocking standard will allow for the  
            removal of Douglas-fir to encourage oak regeneration.  





          2)Prior legislation.  AB 2082 (Dahle), Chapter 212, Statutes of  
            2014, allowed the Board to develop alternative stocking  
            standards for the point count approach to stocking, but not  
            the basal area. The Board has gone on record saying "under the  
            current construct of PRC  4561.2 the Board cannot develop a  
            residual basal area standard to facilitate the management of  
            oak woodlands."   


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:












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          Support


          Board of Forestry and Fire Protection


          California Forestry Association


          Humboldt Redwood Company and Mendocino Redwood Company




          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Michael Jarred / NAT. RES. / (916) 319-2092