Forest Management Program

The Department provides technical assistance to private landowners to assist them in managing their forest land for forest products, water quality, protection of threatened and endangered species, historic resources and wildlife habitat; provides marketing and utilization assistance to forest industry and provides technical assistance in managing state owned lands of other agencies.

These programs are mandated in the enabling legislation for the State Forester, (10.1 - 1105). There are no federal mandates for these components, which fall into into five components:

  1. technical assistance and multi-resource management plans,
  2. forest renewal,
  3. cost-share incentives,
  4. harvesting assistance, and
  5. community grant assistance.

Timber Resource Development | Forest Riparian Management | Silvicultural Water Quality | Aerial Application of Herbicides

Recent Forest Surveys in Virginia revealed that significantly more pine was being harvested than was being grown. In an effort to maintain a forest resource for the forest industry, the Department has provided management plans and technical assistance to private forest landowners. The majority of the wood resource is owned and controlled by 300,000 forest landowners. The forest industry, in 1970, agreed to a self-imposed tax to fund the Reforestation of Timberlands Program to provide cost-share assistance to private landowners as a means to increase pine reforestation. Several federal programs provide funds to state foresters to assist private landowners with technical assistance and cost-share funds.

By coordinating efforts with consulting foresters, forest industry, contractors and cooperating agencies, landowners receive needed services enabling them to grow the resource needed to sustain the forest products industry.

Technical Assistance and Management Plans for Landowners

Each year approximately 8,000 landowners are assisted in managing their forest resources. Forest Stewardship Management Plans are provided to numerous landowners annually. Landowner workshops, forest field days and bus tours, news and magazine articles in Virginia Wildlife and Virginia Forestry Association magazines, talks to adult and student groups, and displays at fairs and other events in cooperation with other agencies and groups, including Cooperative Extension Service and Soil and Water Conservation Districts, are provided to increase public awareness for the need to manage forest resources.

Forest Renewal

Approximately 80,000 acres are reforested annually. The VDOF provides assistance in the reforestation of a majority of these acres. Of these acres, approximately 25,000 acres of cutover land are site prepared for seedling planting. VDOF has a Reforestation of Timberlands Program (RT) supported by a self-imposed forest products tax paid by forest industries. This program provides assistance to about 1,000 landowners and results in the reforestation of approximately 22,000 acres per year.

Cost-Share Incentives

See the complete list of available programs.

Provide technical assistance for forestry practices cost-shared by the following programs:

  • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
  • Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
  • Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP)
  • Virginia Agricultural BMP Program
  • Reforestation of Timberlands Program (RT)
  • Pine Bark Beetle Prevention Program (PBBPP)

The Non-General Fund Share of RT is a Forest Products Tax (self-imposed) paid by Forest Industry to support this program.

Timber Resource Development

VDOF provides timber resource analysis to the public, private firms and individuals, to maintain existing industries and establish new ones in the Commonwealth. Timber resource information provided to the Department of Economic Development assisted in the establishment of at least one or more new industries per year for the past 10 years, and maintained or expanded two or more existing industries per year. Marketing of the state's timber resource and wood industry is accomplished by providing resource data, attending trade shows, consultation with clients, and media interviews. Over 400 requests for services and marketing data are answered annually.

Community Grant Assistance

Administration and coordination of grant funds provided by the USDA Forest Service, provides cost-share grants to local governments, educational institutions and non-profit groups. The intent of this program is to encourage citizen involvement in the development of long-term, sustainable urban and community forestry programs.

Forest Riparian Management

The quantity, quality and availability of natural water supplies in Virginia are strongly influenced by the distribution of forestland which functions to absorb, filter and store precipitation and regulate the yield of clean water. Water quality is particularly dependent on forested riparian areas. The Department's riparian management program involves the promotion of voluntary compliance with Best Management Practices (BMPs) through education, demonstrations and inspections of harvesting operations; enforcement of water quality laws affecting silvicultural activities and support of riparian restoration through vegetation management.

Silvicultural Water Quality

Silviculture is the scientific nurturing of forests to meet human needs. Some silvicultural practices result in land disturbance which can affect water quality if not properly implemented. VDOF personnel conduct training for loggers, landowners and forest industry on practices called Best Management Practices (BMPs) to protect water quality. Logging sites are inspected and water quality is monitored.

Aerial Application of Herbicides

VDOF provides technical assistance and contract supervision involving an aerial herbicide application contract. Contractors using helicopters apply prescribed herbicides for landowners to deaden hardwood competition in new pine plantations; prescriptions are also made for site preparation applications prior to planting.

Over the past few years, the program made application on numerous separate tracts avaeraging 21,000 acres in the months of August and September.


There are no federal mandates for forest management component activities. The Code of Virginia, Title 10.1-1105 mandates the State Forester...“shall provide for the protection of state waters from pollution by sediment deposition resulting from silvicultural activities...shall cooperate with counties, municipalities, corporation and individuals in preparing plans and providing technical assistance for the protection, management and replacement of trees, wood lots and timber tracts and the establishment and preservation of urban forest,...”

Last modified: Thursday, 06-Nov-2014 10:33:35 EST