It’s all about balance… a stable forestland base is critical to Virginia’s environmental integrity, economic viability, and quality of life. Forests provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat, recreational spaces, and products we use every day.
Teaching Virginia’s forest landowners to make their land work for them is a primary role of DOF. DOF recognizes that forest management goals and decisions are up to individual landowners. To that end, the agency provides the information landowners need to make their decisions and helps them plan and implement strategies to meet their goals. Managed forests are more likely to remain forests because they meet the needs of their owners, whether those are environmental, social, or financial. Therefore, forests can continue to provide benefits and support product needs for the Commonwealth.
Conservationist Aldo Leopold once wrote, “What more delightful avocation than to take a piece of land and by cautious experimentation to prove how it works.” Teaching Virginia’s forest landowners to make their land work for them is a primary role of DOF.
On its state forests, DOF models ways that landowners can manage forests for multiple values. The state forest system receives no state general funds; instead, it supports its operations through timber sales, in much the same way a private forest owner does. Today, there are 26 state forests – biologically diverse, financially productive, and sustainably managed.
Environmental integrity and economic viability can coexist along with quality of life!
Forest certification is one option that DOF models for landowners. Certification ensures that trees are harvested legally and responsibly. Many consumers prefer to purchase sustainably-sourced products, especially in global markets; so certification can provide advantages for some forest owners. All forests in the state forest system are certified by both the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the American Tree Farm System (ATFS).
Sustainable forest management ensures that the many benefits of forests will continue to exist in the future, ultimately benefitting all Virginians.