Forests, Habitat, & Wildlife

Wildlands: Keeping California Forests Healthy, Habitat Viable, and Wildlife Safe

California is one of the ecologically richest regions in the continental United States. It has deserts, mountains, valleys and coasts and all the weather, geologic, plant and animal variation appropriate to such diverse topographies. 

In the spirit of Sierra Club's lead founder, naturalist, hiker, writer, parks advocate and environmental activist, John Muir, Sierra Club California volunteers and staff actively work to protect the state's natural areas. Our goal is to ensure that they remain vibrant places still available as havens for native plants and wildlife and soul-enriching respites for people.

Sierra Club California has successfully advocated to:

• Keep California's 278 state parks open and reverse Governor Brown's plans to close 70 of those parks due to budget cuts;

• Ban the brutal practice of "hounding" in bear and bobcat hunts; 

• Ban the sale of shark fins, the harvest of which threatens to wipe out sharks; and

• Beat back legislation that threatened to increase unsustainable forestry practices on private lands.

Our members and staff are currently participating in a planning process to prepare for wolf reintroductions to California.

Healthy Forests vs. Clearcutting

We are also working to ensure that proposed reforms to logging practices on private lands help advance sustainable forestry, not clear cutting.

Healthy forests are critical to healthy watersheds, where 75% of California water originate, and are key to removing carbon dioxide from the air to stabilize our climate. 

In clear cutting, all trees within an area are cut down, and then, typically, herbicides are applied to eliminate any undergrowth before new plantations of seedling trees are planted.

One of Sierra Club's key forest-related projects is to educate members, city council members, and eventually the legislators and the governor about the unsustainable clear cutting of private forests in the Sierra Nevada and the North Coast.

There is an active volunteer clearcutting committee.  If you are interested in learning more about that committee and how you can participate, click here.

Tall mountain forest trees with smaller undergrowth in the foregroundHillside stripped of vegetation and forest surrounding on the edges