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

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California’s first-of-its-kind state program to fund stem-cell research is running out of money and supporters want voters to provide a $5.5 billion infusion.



FILE - In this March 16, 2012, file photo, researcher Terry Storm works in a stem cell research lab at the Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, Calif. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has doled out nearly $3 billion for stem-cell research since 2004. Now, with the institute running out of money, its advocates are asking California voters to approve Proposition 14, to give it a $5.5 billion cash infusion. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)


© Provided by Associated Press
FILE – In this March 16, 2012, file photo, researcher Terry Storm works in a stem cell research lab at the Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, Calif. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has doled out nearly $3 billion for stem-cell research since 2004. Now, with the institute running out of money, its advocates are asking California voters to approve Proposition 14, to give it a $5.5 billion cash infusion. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has doled out nearly $3 billion for research since the non-profit was created in a 2004 ballot question supported by 59% of voters. New stem-cell labs were created around the state and grants were awarded to Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and other prominent institutions.

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In the years since, clinical studies have been launched to determine how stem cells might treat a variety of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, cancer and Parkinson’s, as well as such conditions as spinal paralysis and auto-immune deficiencies.

Proposition 14’s supporters are hoping voters will again support the program, although some acknowledge that with the state caught in a pandemic-infused economic crisis it’s hard to guess how the electorate will react. Early voting begins Monday for the Nov. 3 election.

“I would be optimistic that having a medical emergency at the international level would hopefully drive people to realize that funding for medical research that leads to therapies and cures — including for COVID-19 where there are some interesting approaches underway that CIRM has funded — would persuade some people to

By JOHN ROGERS, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California’s first-of-its-kind state program to fund stem-cell research is running out of money and supporters want voters to provide a $5.5 billion infusion.

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has doled out nearly $3 billion for research since the non-profit was created in a 2004 ballot question supported by 59% of voters. New stem-cell labs were created around the state and grants were awarded to Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and other prominent institutions.

In the years since, clinical studies have been launched to determine how stem cells might treat a variety of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, cancer and Parkinson’s, as well as such conditions as spinal paralysis and auto-immune deficiencies.

Proposition 14’s supporters are hoping voters will again support the program, although some acknowledge that with the state caught in a pandemic-infused economic crisis it’s hard to guess how the electorate will react. Early voting begins Monday for the Nov. 3 election.

“I would be optimistic that having a medical emergency at the international level would hopefully drive people to realize that funding for medical research that leads to therapies and cures — including for COVID-19 where there are some interesting approaches underway that CIRM has funded — would persuade some people to vote yes,” said Larry Goldstein, director of the University of California, San Diego’s stem cell research program.

Opponents argue the $5.5 billion bond purchase would unnecessarily add debt during the economic downturn and question whether the state got enough bang for its first $3 billion.

“Proposition 71 I think has done good work,” said Jeff Sheehy of San Francisco who, although he is a member of the governing board of CIRM, doesn’t believe it should be funded with any more bond money.

“I’m on the board,