General Technicial Report PSW-GTR-217, January 1, 2008, pages 27-38.
An abbreviated version of this paper was presented at the Sixth California Oak Symposium: Today's Challenges, Tomorrow's Opportunities, October 9-12, 2006, Rohnert Park, California.
Recently, questions about the extent of thinning, the sustainability of forest management practices, and the compatibility with other uses were raised by the media, agency personnel, and environmental groups. In response, University of California Cooperative Extension and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Natural Resources Management Department collaborated to address these issues. In March 2006, a questionnaire was mailed to landowners of properties greater than 100 acres in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Monterey counties. A total of 2,786 questionnaires were mailed, with 450 completed and returned (16 percent). The respondents were highly educated, holding degrees in areas other than agriculture or natural resources. Most landowners earned degrees in biology, business, education, law, engineering, or medicine. Over 60 percent of respondents were opposed to any county ordinance. However, 71 percent of respondents said oaks are “important” for their aesthetic value, which indicates support for oak protection. Responding landowners feared the loss of private property rights, and felt that government should not interfere with management on private property. Nearly 73 percent of respondents to our survey make less than 25 percent of their income from their land. Landowners rated their knowledge of oak products marketing, laws and regulations (e.g., Forest Practices Act), forest health (e.g., Sudden Oak Death), and available consulting services as especially poor. A majority of landowners who responded to the survey did not know how to get more information on oak woodland management. The workshop presented on August 17, 2006, in San Luis Obispo, was designed to respond to issues and information needs identified by central coast landowners as well as to provide the latest scientific findings and policies regarding oak woodland management.