The Virginia Department of Forestry:
More than 300,000 forest landowners in Virginia control 77% of forest land, which:
The Department has an operational budget of approximately $25 million and employs 240 salaried staff.
You can learn about the strategic goals and objectives of the Virginia Department of Forestry and how we're achieving them.
The VDOF was established in 1914 to prevent and suppress forest fires and reforest bare lands. Since our inception, we have grown and evolved to encompass other protection and management duties:
The VDOF is charged with the protection of the forest resources from fire. The principle goals of the Forest Protection Program are to prevent injury or loss of human life, minimize property damage and protect resources. The activity falls into six components:
Each year approximately 2,000 fires burn an average of 10,000 acres of forest land. Wildfires cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to control and to protect homes. In Virginia, 99% of wildfires are caused by people. The largest fires occur from February through May, during "spring fire season". "Fall fire season" occurs in October, November and December.
Virginia's 4:00 p.m. burning law goes into effect each February 15 and extends through April 30. Outdoor fires are unlawful before 4:00 p.m.
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. This activity falls into five components:
These programs are mandated in the enabling legislation for the State Forester, (10.1 - 1105). There are no federal mandates for these components.
The VDOF is responsible for managing the forest resource on 22 State Forest properties located throughout Virginia. Approximately 67,920 acres of publicly owned forestland are under the State Forest system in tracts ranging from 147 acres in Fauquier County to 19,535 acres in Buckingham and Appomattox Counties. For each of these properties, ten-year forest management plans are prepared to allow scheduled operations such as timber harvests, preparing the site for tree planting, tree planting, timber stand improvement, and intermediate cuttings to occur at the proper time. Forest inventories are made to determine growing conditions in each timber stand and wood volumes are recorded. Mature forest stands are sold in sealed bid timber sales made to private vendors. Sustainable growth is maintained when final harvest occurs, followed by reforestation of harvested lands.
The development of the Virginia forest tree nurseries was to provide tree and shrub seedlings to be used on private, industry and public lands. State nurseries produce seedlings to be used to establish timber stands, pulpwood crops, Christmas tree plantations, wildlife habitat, streambank stabilization, urban forests, biodiversity and improvement of watersheds as mandated by Title 10.1 - 114 of the Code of Virginia. Portions of the land and the physical facilities are used to educate and inform the public and used for research by state and private universities. The offices and quarters are used by university students and faculty for field trips. Established nature trails are used by local school students for nature study to supplement school curriculum. In addition to research and public education, New Kent Forestry Center conducts a series of ten special deer hunts yearly for handicapped sportsmen, many of which are disabled Veterans. The local communities, businesses and civic groups support these activities with volunteers, donated equipment supplies and money.
Improvement of forest health is necessary to sustain an adequate supply of raw materials and protect natural water supplies while providing a high quality of life - all key elements of the Department's mission. Every phase of forest development involves forest health, including the proper establishment of appropriate, healthy trees on productive sites; cultural practices that favor vigorous growth of the best trees; reduction of losses to pest organisms; and well planned, careful harvesting that protects standing trees from injury and maintains the integrity of riparian areas.
Last modified: Wednesday, 27-May-2015 15:39:42 EDT