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Modeling vineyard expansion in California’s north coast

Many of the policy deliberations on the environmental effects of new vineyard development revolve around the potential application of the California Environmental Quality Act. In particular, some forest and oak woodland conversion has resulted from recent vineyard expansion. Timberland conversions receive CEQA review through the Forest Practice Act (FPA), whereas clearing of oak woodlands and shrub communities generally do not. While a collection of county and city policies target a wide array of oak conservation objectives, these were not generally designed to address land-use conversion resulting from agriculture. In response to the need for more environmental oversight for vineyard development, county governments have developed various regulatory approaches.

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Integrating Information at State, Regional and Local Scales

Watersheds are landscape mosaics; therefore, watershed structure and function is dependent on scale. Temporal and spatial scales influence the inferences we can make about landscape patterns and processes. Spatial scale is the dimension of an object or process characterized by both grain and extent. Grain is defined as the finest level of spatial resolution possible with a given data set and extent is the size of a study area. The scale at which watershed measurements are taken influences our ability to detect spatial patterns. Biotic and abiotic processes vary in their operating scale.For example, anadromous fish are affected by stream and ocean environments. In contrast, native minnows are influenced by processes that occur within a stream or tributary.

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Assessing Potential Hardwood Loss in the Northern Sacramento Valley

The human population of the northern Sacramento Valley is forecast to more than double by the year 2040. This implies that additional land in the region will be under increasing development pressure for urban and rural residential uses. If this pattern of development is projected beyond the 15- to 20-year time frames of local-area plans, significant oak woodland acreage will be affected.

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