This resource management strategy focuses primarily on private land in agriculture including cultivated land and rangeland. Agricultural land in California comprises about 31.6 million acres (California Department of Conservation, Division of Land Resource Protection, Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program 2008). About 12.4 million of these acres are cultivated, while the remaining 19.2 million acres are rangeland (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection 2010).
Agricultural systems in California are varied in the way resources are used, ranging from intensive conventional agriculture (irrigated crop cultivation) to more extensive systems such as livestock grazing, each with a different relationship to natural resources. They also affect and are affected by surface hydrology and groundwater recharge in different ways. Stewardship of this land requires constant balancing among natural constraints, market forces, and ever-changing social expectations. Institutions and policies have been developed in response to these challenges. Public investment in water infrastructure (reservoirs, canals, drains, levees, dykes) has been in the forefront of these.
This resource management strategy report focuses on agricultural land stewardship (ALS) strategies that can be incorporated into relevant adaptive management of agricultural land at different levels, including landscape, regional and project.