Forests Forever was founded in 1989 during the historic campaign to save the Headwaters ancient redwood forest in Humboldt County, California. Although we didn’t get all the forest saved, 7500 acres including several large virgin groves were eventually acquired and can be visited today. Our efforts helped galvanize the broad-based public awareness and outcry that led to this and many other forest victories across the state.
For almost 30 years we have been rallying Californians in defense of the state’s 17 million acres of woodland ecosystems and watersheds. We accomplish this through year-round education, grassroots organizing, litigation, work in elections, and executive-branch and legislative advocacy.
In 2016 several of Forests Forever's proudest accomplishments centered on the protection of California's fast-disappearing oak woodlands.
For the roughly seven million acres of oak woodlands in the state, the vast majority are on private land, enjoy scanty or no protection, and are rapidly being bulldozed to make way for housing developments, vineyards, highways and shopping malls.
In Mendocino County we played a key role in qualifying, then promoting, a voter initiative that effectively would ban the large-scale tree-poisoning method known as “hack and squirt.” On June 7 it passed on a solid 62 percent majority!
We also helped to qualify a ballot measure in Napa County—the Water, Forest, and Oak Woodland Protection Initiative. It would establish no-cut stream buffers while limiting the destruction of oak woodlands.
We were among the founding members of a new coalition in 2016, the California Oaks Coalition.
And in the City of Richmond, we helped to qualify and then to win a citizens initiative that protected some 430 acres of oak forest and savanna threatened with development adjacent to Wildcat Canyon Regional Park.
In 2014 and 2015 Forests Forever spent a great deal of effort playing a leading role in what has become a momentous struggle to fully realize what is our latest—and could be our last—great opportunity to thoroughly overhaul California’s broken system that regulates logging practices.
With letters and calls from our many supporters, coupled with the relentless pressure of our policy advocate, state officials began to listen and after years of advocacy work, legislation, and grassroots organizing California's first forestry-reform pilot project got underway in December 2016. “Cumulative watershed effects” assessment has been a fundamental requirement of the state’s forestry laws, but honored only in the breach for some 40 years. Now with the pilot project finally begun there's much reason to look for a positive outcome.
For one thing, Forests Forever's forest policy advocate Richard Gienger has been selected as one of the 21-person Pilot Project Working Group that will oversee the project it should wrap up in about two years.
These are a few of the more-recent examples of Forests Forever’s advocacy work, at all levels of government, as well as in the public-education arena.