California Licensed Foresters Association

Helping Determine the Future of Forestry in California Since 1980

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California Licensed Foresters Association

The California Licensed Foresters Association, with a membership responsible for the sustained management of millions of acres of California forestland, represents the common interests of California Registered Professional Foresters.

The Association provides opportunities for continuing education and public outreach to its membership, which includes professionals affiliated with government agencies, private timber companies, consultants, the public, and the academic community. Governed by an elected Board of Directors, CLFA was established in 1980 after the passage of the landmark California Professional Foresters Law.

Mission Statement:

CLFA represents California Registered Professional Foresters and associated professionals, who are responsible for the sustained management of millions of acres of California forestland.

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President’s Message

Christopher Dow

“Signs of Changing Times”

I started my career climbing through the shrub growth of 10 year old, large, high severity fire patches located in the Plumas and Lassen National Forest. This led to some interesting debates, such as when is a shrub tall enough to count as canopy cover, how long until we have GPS guided jet packs to get from plot to plot, and most of all, where were all the seedlings we were looking for… Without sunlight, heavy competition for nutrients, and reliance on natural seeding, we struggled to find any natural regeneration. Following that, the most destructive fires in California history have occurred. Rim, King, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Sonora, Napa, Hirz, Delta, Carr, and Camp, just to name a few.

However, the response to this has been a coalition of forces on both sides of the table, finding new ways to work together for all that are invested in forests and natural resources, in order to accomplish more. The task assigned: increase pace and scale of fuels reduction, protect our communities, and protect our natural resource. SB 901 provided tools to work through and overhaul our Exemptions. The Emergency Notice for Fuel Hazard Reduction is being overhauled under emergency rulemaking, in order to give foresters an additional opportunity to utilize the same type of tool that was used for the fuel break that saved portions of the Paradise community. Greater opportunity for working collaboratively with other agencies, including the US Forest Service, are coming to light. A memorandum of understanding has been signed by industry and agency alike, fire safe councils are stepping up pace and scale in our communities, and all are seeking to protect not only our communities and the values that they provide, but also one of the greatest renewable resources that we have in California, our forests.

The CLFA Board has been extremely active in the promotion of increasing pace and scale. From overhaul of the Exemptions, to new stocking standards guided by science, work to further the Working Forest Management Plan, CALTREES, and the Emergency Notice for Fuel Hazard Reduction. The work and time invested have begun to show fruit. And yet, with new tools, and a changing demographic of foresters, we must not forget that it is the investment into the future that governs our workforce. RPF fees have not increased in 28 years.

To capture the drastic change we have seen in that time, gasoline was just over $1 per gallon the last time we saw an increase. The fees that we pay, help to represent us, and aid in our own protection. Licensing fees are a necessary source of funding to protect our license, to further our profession, and to encourage new natural resource professionals. Nobody enjoys discussing increasing fees. I have found myself avoiding this specific topic for several months. The CLFA Board has been active in this process, working with the PFEC to find alternative cost saving options, including an emeritus license, or reduced fees for RPF’s in good standing. However, at the same time, we have also seen testing facilities for our RPF exam reduce to one site. The CLFA Board stepped up, and we found additional testing sites, with volunteer proctors, all to protect the future of the RPF. As I considered how to write about this topic, and reviewing all the materials, this is one fact that I could not escape. These fees and the associated increase are merely an investment. As we have fought so hard to protect the investment that we plant in the ground, and the communities we live in, we may have forgotten the investment into our own profession. RPFs work throughout the state to protect an investment that most of us will likely never see come to age and rotation. This is the same with our licensing fees. We are investing in protecting the future of the RPF, an investment that may not grow in front of our eyes, but is evident all around us, and one must merely look at the RPF exam results in July or January, to find the rewards of our investment.

Spring Burning with CALFIRE on the oldest VMP in the state. This occurred within the Fire Adapted 50 project, protecting Pollock Pines, CA.

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