California Forest Carbon Plan

California’s Forest Carbon Plan focuses on how to restore resilience to all forestlands in the state, creating forests that are and adaptive to climate change, and reliable long-term carbon sinks, rather than sources of GHG and black carbon emissions from wildfire. The report provides an overview of future conditions to forested ecosystems across the state based on projected climate change impacts. Goals and related strategies are outlined to improve natural lands and urban forest health, enhance carbon storage resilience, increase sequestration, and reduce GHG emissions. 

Predicted climate change impacts on California’s forests include increases in temperature, changes in the amount and distribution of precipitation, greater forest insect and disease threats, and higher wildland fire risks. Climate change will exacerbate existing stressors, diminish carbon sequestration rates, and decrease the quantity, quality, and stability of carbon stocks.

The Plan builds a vision for sustainable forests that are a net sink of carbon and are adapted and/or resilient to anticipated climate change effects. The following goals are described in the report along with actions and strategies for implementation. The majority of the goals have a target date of 2030 for full implementation.

  1. Significantly increase the pace and scale of forest and watershed improvements on nonfederal forest lands through incentives and other mechanisms
  2. Support Federal goals and actions to improve forest and watershed health and resiliency
  3. Prevent forest land conversions through easements and acquisitions, as well as land use planning
  4. Innovate solutions for wood products and biomass utilization to support ongoing forest management activities.
  5. Support key research, data management, and accountability needs
  6. Protect and enhance the carbon sequestration potential and related benefits of urban forests.

One approach emphasized for establishing more resilient forests are forest vegetation treatments, such as prescribed and managed fire, mechanical fuels reduction, sustainable timber management, and other similar stand-density management treatments. Treatments are seen as “essential tools to restore forest health and resiliency and to enable forests to be net sinks of carbon over time and to provide a range of other ecosystem and social benefits.”


Publication Date: May 10, 2018

Related Organizations:

  • California Natural Resources Agency
  • California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA)
  • California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire)


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Plans (other)

States Affected:


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