BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 417


                                                                    Page  1





          Date of Hearing:  April 22, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


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


           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Policy       |Natural Resources              |Vote:|9 - 0        |
          |Committee:   |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |-------------+-------------------------------+-----+-------------|
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |-------------+-------------------------------+-----+-------------|
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 


          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:   


          SUMMARY:


          This bill 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. 








                                                                     AB 417


                                                                    Page  2







          FISCAL EFFECT:


          Minor, absorbable costs for the Board to include new standards  
          in their ongoing regulatory process.


          COMMENTS:


          1)Rationale.  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  
            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).  
            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. 
            


            As the survival rate of seedlings has improved and concerns  
            about fire risk and forest health have increased, there is a  
            growing need 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.  











                                                                     AB 417


                                                                    Page  3







          2)Background.  The Forest Practices Act prohibits timber  
            operations unless a timber harvest plan (THP) is prepared by a  
            registered professional forester and approved by the Director  
            of CALFIRE or the Board.  Within five years after completion  
            of timber operations, the area covered by the THP is required  
            to be stocked according to minimum stocking standards provided  
            by law.   The Board may adopt higher minimum stocking  
            standards if the Board determines the standards are necessary  
            to address specific resource and environmental quality issues.  
             In order to adopt higher standards, the Board must adopt  
            standards for each district, after a public hearing.   The  
            Board is not currently authorized to adopt standards lower  
            than the minimum provided by law.  
           


            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.  This bill provides an alternative stocking standard  
            to allow the removal of Douglas-fir and encourage oak  
            regeneration.  





          Analysis Prepared by:Jennifer Galehouse / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081













                                                                     AB 417


                                                                    Page  4