About the Virginia Department of Forestry

The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) was established in 1914 to prevent and suppress forest fires and reforest bare lands. More than 100 years later, we still fight wildfires and plant trees, but the agency has grown and evolved to meet the needs of Virginians and the forestry community.

Read more about VDOF’s history.

VDOF has a number of program areas, each focused on a specific aspect of forestry.

Read more about VDOF’s programs and priorities.

Our Mission, Vision, and Values

The agency’s mission is to protect and develop healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians.

Learn about VDOF’s mission, vision, values, and goals.

Read more about VDOF’s strategic plan, goals, and objectives and how we’re achieving them.

State Legislative Authority of the State Forester

The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) is led by the state forester as established in the Code of Virginia §10.1-1100. The state forester is appointed by the Governor of Virginia and serves under the direction of the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.

The state forester is responsible for ensuring that the agency accomplishes its mission to protect and develop healthy, sustainable forest resources. The following programs are mandated in the enabling legislation for the state forester (Code of Virginia §10.1 – 1105).

  • Technical Assistance and Management Plans for Landowners
  • Forest Renewal
  • Cost-Share Incentives
  • Timber Resource Development
  • Community Grant Assistance
  • Forest Riparian Management
  • Silvicultural Water Quality
  • Aerial Application of Herbicides
  • Mandates

Read a message from the State Forester.

The state forester, along with the Executive Leadership Team, are responsible for ensuring that the agency accomplishes its mission to protect and develop healthy, sustainable forest resources.

Meet VDOF’s Leadership Team.

VDOF Organization

The Virginia Department of Forestry, led by the state forester and leadership team, is configured with several organizational units:

  • Headquarters – Houses program manager and support staff (located in Charlottesville)
  • Field Operations – Consists of three Regions (Western, Central, and Eastern)
  • Nurseries – Includes two tree nurseries (Garland Gray in Courtland and Augusta in Crimora)
  • State Forests – 26 state forests (Headquartered at Cumberland State Forest in Cumberland)

View our agency organization chart.

Find employees in our agency directory.

View our state forests map.

Board of Forestry

The Board of Forestry is an advisory board established for the purpose of advising the Governor and the Department of Forestry on the state of the forest resources within the Commonwealth and the management of forest resources.

Read more about Virginia’s Board of Forestry.

Honor Guard

A small contingent of dedicated VDOF employees serve in our Honor Guard – a group of agency representatives that attend memorials of and perform flag presentations for current and retired employees who pass away, as well as participate in fallen firefighter memorials.

Read more about VDOF’s Honor Guard.

Facts at a Glance

  • VDOF has an operational budget of approximately $25 million and employs 240 salaried staff.
  • Virginia has 26 state forests that include 71,972 acres (of which 96% are certified sustainable) and are managed for timber, recreation, water, research, wildlife habitat, and biodiversity protection.
  • Forestry is the third leading economic engine in Virginia. The forest industry generates more than 108,000 related jobs and contributes $21 billion annually to Virginia’s economy.
  • The state forests of Virginia are self-supporting and receive no taxpayer funds for operation. Operating funds are generated from the sale of forest products.
  • Up to 25 percent of revenue received from forest products sales is returned to the counties in which the forests are located.

You can support educational programs on your State Forests by donating a portion of your state tax refund to Virginia’s State Forests Fund.