Land Conservancy director speaks to Forest Committee

The Cambria Forest Committee will host Daniel Bohlman, conservation director of The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo, during the committee’s meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9. The meeting will be at Rabobank, 1070 Main St.

Bohlman will highlight the conservancy’s current activity, explain the history of the county’s “transfer of development credits” (TDC) program and discuss ways to improve the program.

According to his bio on, Bohlman holds a Cal Poly degree in ecology and systematic biology, with a concentration in botany. He has a “passion for San Luis Obispo’s diverse and amazing landscapes,” and wants to “preserve and maintain these landscapes via direct action.”

Since 1984, the conservancy has worked to conserve, manage and protect natural open space areas in and around Cambria, establishing the Fern Canyon Preserve in the Lodge Hill area of town and the Leffingwell Ranch. The conservancy administers the TDC program, which is designed to reduce new development on environmentally sensitive parcels by transferring construction to less sensitive parcels.

The conservancy believes that additional environmentally sensitive Cambria parcels need to be protected. The June 2010 “vacant parcel assessment report” under the “water issues-current projects-buildout reduction” links on the Cambria Community Services District website is a detailed analysis of the conservation value of each vacant parcel in Cambria.

The Cambria Forest Committee, active for about two decades, is a blend of governmental representatives and interested individuals who share concerns about and a desire to protect Cambria’s rare native stand of Monterey pines, one of only three such forests on the U.S. mainland and only five in the world.

Cambria’s trees have been under attack by four punishing years of drought, beetles and pitch canker fungus, and by the pressures of having so many homes intermingled within the forest. Some foresters estimate that up to 50 percent of the trees have died or are dying. Also, many of the pines are at the end of their life span, which makes forest management even more crucial now, the experts say.

The committee and its consultant prepared the Cambria Forest Management Plan, a set of management “prescriptions” that can be continually modified as forest and other situations change. The 2002 plan, which has not yet been funded or implemented, is available online at

Kathe Tanner: 805-927-4140, @CambriaReporter

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