By Roger Bales and Martha Conklin

Many of California’s 33 million acres of forests face widespread threats stemming from past management choices. Today the U.S. Forest Service estimates that of the 20 million acres it manages in California, 6-9 million acres need to be restored.

Forest restoration basically means removing the less fire-resistant smaller trees and returning to a forest with larger trees that are widely spaced. These stewardship projects require partnerships across the many interests who benefit from healthy forests, to help bring innovative financing to this huge challenge.

The California Wildfires in Photos

california wildfires

We are engineers who work on many natural resource challenges, including forest management. We’re encouraged to see California and other western states striving to use forest management to reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire.

But there are major bottlenecks. They include scarce resources and limited engagement between forest managers and many local, regional and state agencies and organizations that have roles to play in managing forests.

However, some of these groups are forming local partnerships to work with land managers and develop innovative financing strategies. We see these partnerships as key to increasing the pace and scale of forest restoration.

Under contemporary conditions, trees in California’s forests experience increased competition for water. The exceptionally warm 2011-2015 California drought contributed to the death of over 100 million trees. As the forest’s water demand exceeded the amount available during the drought, water-stressed trees succumbed to insect attacks.

Funding is a significant barrier to scaling up treatments. Nearly half of the Forest Service’s annual budget is spent on fighting wildfires, which is important for protecting communities and other built infrastructure. But this means the agency can restore only a fraction of the acres that need treatment each year.

The Benefits of Restoration

Forest restoration provides many benefits in

Credit…Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, spoke Wednesday about the prospects of a stand-alone bill for airline relief, as President Trump continued to walk back his own retreat from negotiations on a broader coronavirus relief package and to push for more narrow legislation.

During a conversation in the morning, Mr. Mnuchin asked about the possibility of a stand-alone bill, as a critical payroll program for airline workers lapsed last week and airlines have warned of tens of thousands of more furloughs and layoffs without federal intervention.

Ms. Pelosi noted that Democrats had already thrown their support behind such a measure and reminded Mr. Mnuchin that Republicans had objected to unanimous passage of such a bill in the House on Friday, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi said. She asked Mr. Mnuchin to review the legislation, championed by Representative Peter DeFazio of Oregon, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee.

A Treasury spokeswoman confirmed that the call took place but would not say what was discussed.

The two talked again for about 20 minutes on Wednesday evening and agreed to talk again on Thursday, according to Drew Hammill, the speaker’s deputy chief of staff.

Since approving nearly $3 trillion in economic relief this spring, Congress and the White House have failed to reach agreement on another package, despite warnings from economists, including the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, that follow-up aid is needed to maintain the country’s economic recovery.

“A long period of unnecessarily slow progress could continue to exacerbate existing disparities in our economy,” Mr. Powell said

(Reuters) – Wall Street rallied to close sharply higher on Monday as investors sought bargains among sectors hardest-hit by the coronavirus recession, now limping toward its ninth month.

All three major U.S. stock indexes made solid gains on the heels of the longest weekly losing streak in over a year for both the S&P 500 and the Dow.

But energy .SPNY and financials .SPSY, which suffered the most bruising blows from the economic shutdown, enjoyed the largest percentage gains among major S&P 500 sectors, all of which ended the session in the black.

“Today’s market is being led by energy and financials, but it’s a very well-balanced market,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York. “Every sector is participating in this rally.”

However, even with Monday’s jump, the indexes are only days away from closing the books on their first monthly declines since March, when markets were sent into a freefall by pandemic-related lockdowns.

“Given that it’s been a weak month, some rebalancing may be occurring,” Ghriskey added. “The rebalancing would move allocations to equities and some of that may be happening today.”

The third quarter also draws to a close on Wednesday, and despite September’s expected loss, the S&P and the Nasdaq are on course for their best two-quarter winning streaks since 2009 and 2000, respectively.

Market leaders Apple Inc AAPL.O and Amazon.com AMZN.O once again gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

The lack of a COVID-19 vaccine and an additional fiscal stimulus package from Washington have weighed on the markets in recent sessions.

FILE PHOTO: A nearly empty trading floor is seen as preparations are made for the return to trading at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid