Climate Change

Mixed conifer forests of California’s Sierra Nevada-Cascade region play a significant role in regulating the climate. For thousands of years, they have absorbed carbon from the atmosphere and store enormous amounts both above and below ground. Today’s overcrowded forests absorb less carbon and are prone to damaging wildfires that threaten the security of existing carbon stocks. This past decade, large high-severity wildfires transformed our overcrowded forests, at least temporarily, from a net carbon sink to a major carbon source. The full extent of the impact to the climate is an active area of study and recent research indicates that unhealthy forests may pose a greater risk to California’s climate goals than once presumed. The carbon benefits of forest restoration treatments are well known and include a rapid post-treatment increase in sequestration rates, the amount stored, and the proportion held in large fire resilient trees.

Regional Challenges, State Priorities

Forests in California's Sierra-Cascade region are unhealthy, vulnerable to damaging wildfires and an accelerating climate crisis. Local communities and economies are at risk. And it’s not just the Sierra-Cascade, California’s water security, outdoor access, biodiversity, and climate leadership all depend upon healthy, resilient forests.

Learn more about these challenges and priorities: