Forest Action Plans: Guidelines for Forests

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NASF State Forestry Statistics


Approximately every two years the National Association of State Foresters conducts a survey of its 59 members to capture key information about the non-federal forestlands in the United States and the role of State Foresters in enhancing their value, representing public interests, and protecting these lands from fire, disease, fragmentation and other resource threats. The survey includes information about forestry programs, agency budgets, and funding support pertinent to each state and territory.

A new report from NASF, "State Foresters by the Numbers: Data and Analysis from the 2008 NASF State Forestry Statistics Survey," summarizes the responses received from members for fiscal year 2008, which were reported to NASF in July of 2009 with 48 of the 50 states, and the District of Columbia, providing responses.

Previous year's surveys from 2006, 2004, 2002, and 1998 as well as data from a few outside sources are also included in some of the analysis. Complete data from survey years 1998-2008 is available in a comprehensive Excel spreadsheet.

State Foresters by the Numbers report (See Overview of Key Findings below)

State Forestry Statistics Spreadsheet (1998-2008)

2008 survey questionnaire



What types of data are included in this State Forestry Statistics survey?
The data collected describe the extent and ownership of the forestland in each state, details on expenditures by and funding received by state forestry organizations, and information on state forestry organizations staffing, activities, and responsibilities.

Where does this data come from?
NASF has been conducting surveys of its members for a number of years. The survey data included in this workbook covers the prior decade (1998, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008; no survey data was collected in 2000) and provides a current snapshot of forestry by state across the nation as well as allowing national, regional, and state trends to be investigated and analyzed.

Are there summaries of the results of this survey data?
Yes. First, there is the State Foresters by the Numbers report, where the results of in-depth analysis of this same data are presented. Second, there are a number of prepared reports in the spreadsheet workbook that can be downloaded from the NASF website (see above). Details on the prepared reports are documented inside the workbook on the first worksheet tab.

Did all members report each year the survey was conducted? If not, couldn't this affect trend analysis using this data?
Not all members reported their results each year the survey was conducted but the vast majority of members have consistently responded to the survey. However, missing responses could affect trend analysis if not properly addressed. There are fields in the database to indicate which members responded in which years so trend analysis can be conducted using only results from those members that responded in all the relevant years of the analysis.

I want to do some of my own analysis with the data. How to I gain access to it?
The survey data for all the survey years (1998, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008) is included in a comprehensive Excel spreadsheet. Documentation on the first worksheet in the spreadsheet indicates the location of the data in the workbook. The data structure is straight-forward: survey years by state are in rows and survey data fields are in columns. The data on this tab can be copied into a separate workbook and analyzed.

Alternatively, there are a number of Microsoft Excel Pivot Tables (see reference about Pivot Tables and how they work for Excel 2003 or Excel 2007) that were developed and used to generate prepared reports that are already in the workbook. These pivot tables can be copied into a separate workbook and modified for further analysis if desired. To do this, copy the entire worksheet to ensure hidden rows and columns are included in the newly created workbook.



Private forestlands make up 59 percent of the total forestland in the U.S., state and local government make up 10 percent, and federal forestlands, 31 percent. Almost seven out of every 10 acres of forestland in the United States are in non-federal ownership. [page 5]

State forestry agencies manage 49 million acres of forestland in the U.S., one-third more acreage than is managed by forest industry. State Foresters support and promote sound forestry management practices on all non-federal lands in addition to managing state-owned forest land. [page 7]

Within the most populous 15 states, representing two-thirds of the nation's population, the amount of non-federal forest land is 4 times that of the federal forest land. With higher percentages of non-federal forestlands found closest to concentrated centers of population, State Foresters are often the public face of forestry. [page 7]

On average state forestry agencies spend 79 percent of their budgets providing services to private and local government-owned forestland and other wildland areas in their states. Almost four out of every five dollars spent by state forestry agencies are for services to lands not owned by the state. [page 9]

State forestry agencies provided technical assistance to 182,479 forest landowners in 2008, an increase of 16,105, or 10 percent, since 2004. State Forestry agencies are the primary source of forest management advice for family forest owners. [page 15]

Program expenditures for Landowner Assistance, Urban & Community Forestry, Forest Legacy, Forest Recreation, and Forest Health programs have increased by $100 MM, or 44 percent, in the past ten years. [pages 15-17]

State Foresters face increasing demands for services, such as wildfire protection, water quality, and landowner assistance, at a time when funding sources for programs are vulnerable to budget cutbacks. While state, county, and municipal support of forestry programs grew 30 percent and 28 percent between 2006 and 2008, federal support remained essentially flat. [page 18]

Over $1.6 B annually is spent by state forestry agencies on wildfire, protection, prevention and suppression. This number has more than doubled in the past ten years. [page 10]

State forestry agencies trained 99,500 rural firefighters in 2008 which represents a 31 percent increase over the number trained in 2006. NASF members also help communities prioritize their preparedness and mitigation efforts through the development of Community Wildfire Protection Plans. [page 14]


State Foresters by the Numbers was prepared for NASF by consulting foresters, Nancy Budge of QB Consulting and Tom Montzka of Straight Arrow Consulting, and funded by a USDA Forest Service grant awarded to NASF in 2009.
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