Conserving Forest Land and Forest Resources

During the last ten years the Commonwealth has lost an average of 16,000 acres of forestland annually. Most of these acres are being lost as forested land is converted to other uses such as houses, shopping centers or roads. Loss of forested acres and the fragmentation of the remaining acres reduces the potential of the forest to provide the economic, social and ecological benefits that we depend on.

Since 1914, the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) has worked to protect and improve Virginia’s working forests. Today the VDOF is taking the lead in protecting working forests from conversion.

Cooperative Forestry

Private landowners and rural communities use these programs and partnerships to help care for their forests, strengthen local economies, and maintain a high quality of life.

Conservation Agencies and Programs

  • Dept of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) – Conservation of open space for recreation, scenic areas, trails, and natural heritage sites. Also provides oversight for state conservation efforts and tracking of conservation goals. Administers the Virginia Land Conservation Fund (VLCF).
    • Manager, Office of Land Conservation, 804.225.2048
  • Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services  (VDACS) -  Conservation of working farms, certification and funding for local PDR programs.
  • Dept of Historic Resources (DHR) – Conservation of historic buildings and sites, battlefields, cultural and archeological sites.
  • Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) - Conservation of wetlands and wildlife habitat, as well as wildlife management areas.
  • VA Outdoors Foundation (VOF) - Organization that is the primary holder of conservation easements in Virginia. Established to “promote the preservation of open-space lands and to encourage private gifts of money, securities, land or other property to preserve the natural, scenic, historic, scientific, open-space and recreational areas of the Commonwealth.”
  • Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Federal program provides rental payments to farmers for conservation practices to enhance water quality and wildlife habitat, administered by DCR.

Conservation organizations, Land Trusts and conservancies that protect land

These websites offer up-to-date lists of national, state, and local organizations.

Contact information for all our programs

    Amanda Scheps, Forest Conservation Specialist. 
    Please contact Amanda if you are interested in or have questions about establishing a new easement to be held by VDOF in the eastern region of the state (see map).

    Andrew Fotinos, Forest Conservation Specialist.  Please contact Andrew if you are interested in or have questions about establishing a new easement to be held by VDOF in the western region of the state (see map).

    Sarah Parmelee, Forestland Conservation Coordinator.  Please contact Sarah if you have questions about already-established easements, including questions about buying or selling a property that has a VDOF easement on it or implementing land management activities on such easements (e.g., subdivision, building construction, forest harvesting, etc.).

    Karl Didier, Forestland Conservation Program Manager.  Please contact Karl if you have questions about external programs that may support establishment of VDOF easements (e.g., USFS Forest Legacy Program, VLCF), VDOF's Forest Conservation Value map, or other forest conservation programs (e.g., Generation NEXT, Century Forests, etc.).

Last modified: Friday, 26-Feb-2021 13:57:24 EST