Written by Ryan Reed, Natural Resource Program Specialist with the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Bureau of Forestry works to connect with private citizens that own forestland/woodland through its cadre of Service Foresters, who are housed throughout the state. Each county has a service forester that is responsible for landowner contacts in that area. These forestry professionals bring a wealth of experience and expertise to interested forest landowners, helping them to better understand their woods and helping them to consider decisions that can be made to support the owner’s values as well as the overall sustainability of their woods (such as how to maximize songbird habitat, how to control invasive species, how to go about handling a timber harvest, and more).
Service foresters help forest landowners identify tree species and forest type, as well as presence of invasive plants, harmful insects, and diseases. They can also point out various unique features of your forest, such as wildlife habitat for particular species, interesting plant species, and more. When visiting your property, service foresters will seek to understand what you value about your forest as well as any goals you may have for your forest, and suggest sustainable methods to achieve them.
Upon visiting your forest, Service Foresters will make note of any factors that may be inhibiting your forest’s regeneration. Their observational skills are uniquely honed to notice evidence of over-browsing by deer and competition from invasive species. In these cases, a service forester will recommend methods to curtail these impacts.
In the most basic sense, service forestry is about helping forest landowners understand what they have and what can be done sustainably in line with the landowner’s values and goals.
Some of the other topics that service foresters can help address are:
- Sustainable forest management technical assistance
- Cost-share assistance
- Information on hiring a professional forester
- Help reviewing Forest Stewardship Plans
- Regional planning advice
- Advice on forestry and water-related best management practices
- Presentation of educational forestry-related programs to a variety of audiences
- Urban and community forestry management assistance
- Tree planting
- Riparian forest buffers
If you would like to learn more about your forest or have an issue you’d like to discuss related to your woods, the DCNR Bureau of Forestry urges you to contact your local Service Forester to get started. For the list of Service Foresters by county, please click HERE.
To learn more about the DCNR Bureau of Forestry service forestry program, visit: https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/Conservation/ForestsAndTrees/ManagingYourWoods/Pages/default.aspx