Virginia's Eighth Forest Survey (2007)

The Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) staff has completed field work for the 8th Survey of Virginia’s Forests and moved on to the 9th Survey remeasurement.

The 2005 moving average is the latest summary data available (1984, 1992, 2001 and 2003 are also online). The 2006 moving average will be online by November, 2007. The hard-copy report of the 7th Survey/Virginia's Forests, 2001, has been slowly winding its way through the publication process at the Southern Research Station in Asheville, NC and is slated for distribution in late 2007. An online version can be viewed and downloaded at:

It takes five years to complete a survey, divided into five “panels” or 20 percent of the plots to be measured annually. Once a panel is completed in the field, then processed and compiled by the Southern Research Station’s FIA unit in Knoxville, TN, a “moving average” of data for the latest five available panels is posted to the USFS “Mapmaker” Web application for users to run their own queries.

We started on the 7th Survey in 1997 and completed the fieldwork in early 2002, then moved on to the 8th Survey.

The charts and tables below provide a "snapshot" of Virginia’s forests, taken from the 2005 moving average data:

Forest Land Acreage

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Of the 15,765,707 acres of forest land in 2005, 15,308,779 acres were classified as commercial timberland, while 456,928 acres were placed in the reserved and other forest land categories.

Forest inventory defined commercial timberland as having at least 10 percent stocked with trees and over an acre in size and available for management, while reserved forest land is removed from production legislatively (like national park or wilderness areas). Other forest land is incapable of producing at least 20 cubic feet of industrial wood annually per acre (used to be called “unproductive forest land”). “Forest land” is combined commercial timberland, reserved and other forest land. 2005 data shows 97 percent as commercial forest land, while three percent is classifed reserved and other forest land.

Forest Type Group

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Oak-Hickory is the predominant forest type group in Virginia at 64 percent or 10,125,844 acres. Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine is second at 18 percent or 2,802,299 acres. If upland and bottomland hardwood types are combined with hardwood/pine types, they account for 78 percent of Virginia’s Forests.

Forest Ownership

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Currently, NIPF and corporate (not forest industry) account for 79.9 percent or 12,220,631 acres. Forest industry lands have declined to five percent or 763,219 acres.

Stand Origin

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While only 14 percent or 2,237,067 acres of Virginia’s forest land show evidence of planting, 59 percent of the acreage in pine and hardwood/pine types are planted.

While only 14 percent or 2,237,067 acres of Virginia’s forest land show evidence of planting, 59 percent of the acreage in pine and hardwood/pine types are planted.

Most Common Species

Statewide, by volume, yellow-poplar is the most common tree species in Virginia, followed by loblolly pine. However, if considered as a group, upland oaks make up, by far, the most volume in the state.

10 Most Common Species by Volume (MM cubic feet)

Ranking State Wide Vol. Region 1 Vol. Region 2 Vol. Region 3 Vol. Region 4 Vol. Region 5 Vol. Region 6 Vol.
1st yellow-poplar 4,839 loblolly pine 1,566 loblolly pine 1,087 yellow-poplar 1,219 loblolly pine 950 chestnut oak 1,105 yellow-poplar 1,035
2nd loblolly pine 3,881 red maple 350 yellow-poplar 737 chestnut oak 1,113 yellow-poplar r 589 yellow-poplar 1,065 chestnut oak 612
3rd chestnut oak 3,008 sweetgum 336 white oak 566 white oak 823 white oak 489 white oak 533 red maple 469
4th white oak 2,880 white oak 207 sweetgum 408 N. red oak 611 Virginia pine 335 Virginia pine 471 N. red oak 454
5th red maple 2,151 yellow-poplar 193 red maple 296 red maple 399 sweetgum 244 red maple 414 white oak 261
6th N. red oak 1,695 swamp tupelo 118 Virginia pine 283 Virginia pine 362 shortleaf pine 242 N. red oak 413 scarlet oak 238
7th Virginia pine 1,512 baldcypress 65 beech 202 black oak 285 red maple 223 scarlet oak 320 E. white pine 227
8th sweetgum 1,096 willow oak 57 S. red oak 181 scarlet oak 282 S. red oak 124 E. white pine 279 sugar maple 222
9th scarlet oak 1,057 beech 55 scarlet oak 114 E. white pine 234 mockernut hickory 124 black oak 241 black oak 200
10th black oak 968 blackgum 49 black oak 100 pignut hickory 200 chestnut oak 117 mockernut hickory 136 pignut hickory 142

Conversely, looking at number of stems, relatively shade-tolerant species like red maple and blackgum, have a large impact on the rankings, due their presence in the understory as saplings (Table 1 and Table 2).

10 Most Common Species by Number of Stems (million trees)

Ranking State Wide No. Region 1 No. Region 2 No. Region 3 No. Region 4 No. Region 5 No. Region 6 No.
1st red maple 1,432 loblolly pine 446 loblolly pine 240 red maple 272 red maple 1,433 red maple 320 red maple 220

loblolly pine 1,026 sweetgum 282 American holly 203 blackgum 194 loblolly pine 1,026 blackgum 199 yellow-poplar 113

yellow-poplar 793 red maple 225 sweetgum 187 yellow-poplar 128 yellow-poplar 793 yellow-poplar 162 sugar maple 105
4th sweetgum 700 American holly 138 red maple 149 chestnut oak 109 sweetgum 701 chestnut oak 156 sourwood 89
5th blackgum 641 yellow-poplar 83 yellow-poplar 140 white oak 105 blackgum 642 Virginia pine 155 blackgum 68
6th Virginia pine 492 56 Virginia pine 88 dogwood 95 Virginia pine 492 sourwood 107 chestnut oak 60
7th white oak 446 hornbeam 50 white oak 74 Virginia pine 88 white oak 447 dogwood 100 beech 58
8th dogwood 428 white oak 43 hornbeam 69 eastern redcedar 77 dogwood 429 E. white pine 84 sweet birch 51
9th American holly 363 water oak 38 blackgum 57 pignut hickory 67 American holly 364 white oak 75 E. white pine 50
10th chestnut oak 362 blackgum 36 beech 54 loblolly pine 53 chestnut oak 362 scarlet oak 50 dogwood 50

Growth and Removal Ratios

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Statewide, for this 2005 snapshot, growth of growing stock exceeded removals annually by 155,961,221 cubic feet. Current volume of growing stock for Virginia for 2005 is calculated at 27,170,990,455 cubic feet. For this period, removals exceeded growth in Regions 1 and 2.