Category: Forest Management

Field Notes

Prescribed Burning with Dragon Eggs!

July 16, 2021 - By Lisa Deaton, VDOF Area Forester; contributor: Rod Newlin, VDOF Water Quality Engineer The Virginia Department of Forestry has many tools for prescribed burning, from bulldozers that pull fire plows, to UTVs with water tanks, to drip torches, fire rakes, shovels and more. The following two photos are from a dormant season burn of loblolly pine stands at Sandy Point State Forest, with a combined goal of wildlife habitat improvement and... Read More

Field Notes

An Ode to Dead Trees

June 9, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator Contributors: Lisa Deaton, Kenny Thomas, Chris Thomsen    Recently, I’ve received photos from several VDOF staff, which I’d planned to use in a “What’s in the Woods Today?” post. This time, all the photos had something interesting in common: trees that were either going, or gone. Fortunately, a dead tree can be full of life, in more ways than one. This sassafras in... Read More

Field Notes

Reforestation of Timberlands Program – 50 Years Strong!

April 20, 2021 - By Todd Groh, VDOF Forest Resource Management Program Manager The Reforestation of Timberlands (RT) Program is turning fifty years old this year. This program, managed by the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF), is a good example of what can be done when people come together for a common goal.  More than fifty years ago, Virginia looked a lot different than it does today. Although forests were still prevalent across the state,... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: Atlantic White-cedar Makes a Comeback?

March 18, 2021 - By Scott Bachman, VDOF Senior Area Forester, Blackwater Work Area A number of years back, a hurricane made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and forced her way through the southeastern coastal area of Virginia on the way to dumping flooding rains on the remainder of the Commonwealth. That storm was Isabel. In her wake, she left 32 people dead and more than 1.85 billion dollars in damage. Directly... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: Disturbance Ecology in the Swamp

December 22, 2020 - By Scott Bachman, Senior Area Forester, and Meghan Mulroy-Goldman, Community Forester – Blackwater Work Area Earlier this year, Meghan Mulroy-Goldman and I took the opportunity to travel to the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. This swamp once covered more than one million acres in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina and was dominated by tree species like bald cypress, black tupelo, and Atlantic white-cedar. Many species of wildlife roamed... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: Bottomland Forests and Flooding

April 16, 2020 - By Scott Bachman, senior area forester I will confess, when I moved to Isle of Wight County as a much younger forester, I was concerned about the “swamps” and how I would ever work in this environment.  Three decades later I have learned to enjoy the bottomland forests and to appreciate the ecosystem services they provide. One such service is floodwater storage and energy dissipation.  In mid-February this year, much... Read More


Foresters on Bear Den Duty

February 26, 2020 - VDOF foresters are lending a hand to locate foster moms for orphaned bear cubs in Virginia.  VDOF’s sister agency Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) recently reached out with a request for help identifying black bear dens on forestland throughout the state. DGIF biologists have received a number of calls about bear cubs that have been separated from their mother— “well beyond what we normally see at this... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: Shedding Light on the Situation

July 20, 2018 - by Area Forester Sarah Long If you were out in the Conway Robinson State Forest around the end of June, you might have wondered what those folks with chainsaws were doing to your state forest. As one of those folks with a chainsaw, I am here to tell you that tale. Trees produce untold pounds and pounds of seed every year in the hope that just a few of them... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: Good Fire or Bad Fire?

April 10, 2018 - by VDOF Forester  Manij Upadhyay Wildfire is a serious environmental issue in The United States and may cause significant damage to communities and properties. On the other hand, prescribed fire is an essential tool for forest managers. Each year prescribed burns are carried out on thousands of acres of land. You could say fire has two sides. Fire has a bad side because each year large numbers of uncontrolled wildfires... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: What’s in the Woods Today April 5, 2018

April 5, 2018 - by VDOF Area Forester Lisa Deaton Wildlife and Clearcuts Part 2 A beaver hut in the middle of a pond or swamp is a familiar sight.  The one above is located in Beaverdam Swamp in Gloucester County. While mapping a creek for another Riparian Buffer Tax Credit application, I had the opportunity to see a number of signs of beaver activity alongside a clearcut. First, I came across the beaver... Read More