The results of the biennial survey of the nation’s 50 state forestry agencies, eight U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia are now available.
The State Foresters by the Numbers report shows the key role state foresters have played in protecting non-federal forests and enhancing their value; providing over 235,000 technical assists to forest landowners in fiscal year 2014, and training nearly 59,000 firefighters to protect 1.52 billion acres of land from wildfires.
“We are proud of the role that state forestry agencies continue to play as the first source of information for land management expertise, urban and community forestry projects, and wildfire prevention and suppression,” said Jay Farrell, Executive Director of the National Association of State Foresters.
“Unfortunately our nation’s forestry programs are increasingly vulnerable to budget cutbacks at a time when their services are more needed than ever. Through their Forest Action Plans, state forestry agencies work to target funding in priority areas where work is needed most.”
Conducted once every two years, all 50 states responded to the latest survey which was distributed in early 2015. The survey provides new and 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 over 59 percent of total forest land in the United States, with state and local governments comprising another 11 percent, and federal lands the remaining 30 percent. State foresters support these lands, spending roughly three out of every four dollars spent by state forestry agencies are often for providing services for private, federal, and local government owned forest lands in their states. This included technical assistance to 8,579 communities in 2014 under the Urban & Community Forestry programs.
The survey also found that increased wildfires continued to put pressure on forestry agencies. This pressure has caused state foresters to struggle with new outreach and education.
“More than 25,000 permanent and part-time employees of state forestry agencies continue to work year round to help keep our nation’s forests growing,” said Farrell. “We will keep working to confront every new threat to our forests as they grow”.
The NASF Benchmarking Report was prepared by Industry Insights, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, an association research firm specializing in association research since 1980.