The National Association of State Foresters (NASF) State Foresters by the Numbers Report shows the key role state foresters have played in protecting non-federal forests and enhancing their value; providing technical assistance to nearly 200,000 forest landowners in 2012; and training more than 57,000 firefighters to protect 1.56 billion acres of land from wildfires.
State Foresters are a primary source of technical assistance for landowners and other citizens, and in protecting our forests and communities from wildfire. Unfortunately the latest report shows our nation’s forestry programs are increasingly vulnerable to budget cutbacks at a time when their services are more needed than ever.
Conducted once every two years, NASF’s 59 members received the 2012 survey in 2014 with all 50 states and the District of Columbia responding. The survey provides biennially updated statistics on forestry in the United States in an easy-to-read format.
Among the major results the new survey reveals, private forest lands cover more than 58 percent of total forestland in the United States, with state and local governments comprising another 11 percent, and federal lands. State foresters support these lands, spending roughly three out of every four dollars providing services for private and local government owned forestlands in their states. This included technical assistance to 8,654 communities in 2012 through outreach and education programs.
The survey also found that worsening wildfires continued to put pressure on forestry agencies, particularly in the western region. This pressure has caused state foresters to struggle with new outreach and education.
Issues with the highest impact on state forestry agency operations include pest infestation and disease outbreak, reducing the risks of wildfire impacts, and forest fragmentation and development.
State Foresters and agency staff serve members of the public and help confront the worsening threats faced by our forests. More than 25,000 employees of state forestry agencies continue to work year round to keep America’s forests healthy and combat the highest impact issue.