Demonstration State Forests

California’s forests are iconic. From the coastal redwoods, to the high sierra conifers, and Giant Sequoia’s, these forests help define our state. Learning how to care for these treasures for the people of California is why the Demonstration State Forests exist. These forests represent the most common forest types in California and serve as a living laboratory for how to care for California’s timberlands for multiple benefits—wood products and timber production, recreation, watershed protection and habitat restoration.

Las Posadas Forest

What is being demonstrated?
The Demonstration State Forests show how forests can be managed for multiple objectives on multiple levels. Looking landscape wide, these forests demonstrate how harvests and growth can be balanced over a century to maintain optimally stocked forests, a key measure of sustainability. Demonstrations on a finer scale include new watershed restoration techniques being tested, and fundamental science research taking place that enables students, visitors and private forest landowners to learn about forest management and forest ecosystems. What we learn is essential to better manage our dynamic forests through time. 

Why do these forests matter?
The Demonstration State Forests provide a unique set of circumstances for testing a variety of forest treatments through time. The experiments and research conducted on our Demonstration State Forests helps inform management practices for government, nonprofit and private forestland owners. Private forestland ownerships comprise 40% of California’s forestland and are key to sustaining forests for all California. 

How can you get involved?
The state forests are an asset to the surrounding communities, providing jobs, recreation opportunities, aesthetic value. Find the state forest near to you learn how you can support your forest.

Research and Demonstration

The State Demonstration Forests provide research and demonstration opportunities for a variety of natural resource management objectives including sustainable timber production, public recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, and watershed protection. CAL FIRE research grantees, foresters and environmental scientists conduct ongoing projects to learn more about the effectiveness of forest management practices. The State Forests demonstrate how a forest can be managed for multiple goals and objectives at once.


The state forests are managed for multiple-use objectives, and recreation is a priority. Common recreation activities include, camping, hiking, biking, mushroom hunting, fishing, hunting, horseback riding. Recreation opportunities on State Forests are offered for free or are low cost compared to other public recreation. Community partnerships and volunteer support are vital to our efforts to provide high quality recreation opportunities.

Sustainable Timber Production

The Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (Board) policy provides that the State Forests shall be used for experimentation to determine the economic feasibility of artificial reforestation, and to demonstrate the productive and economic possibilities of good forest practices toward maintaining forest crop land in a productive condition. The management objectives and plans developed for each State Forest are subject to periodic review and approval by the Board. The State Forests grow approximately 75 million board feet of timber annually and harvest an average of 20 million board feet each year, enough to build 12,500 single-family homes.