Forests and Forestry in Virginia
Virginia has almost 16 million acres of forests, accounting for 62% of the state’s land area. Virginia’s forests are composed of several forest cover types, including oak-hickory forests (9.8 million acres), pine forests (3.0 million acres), and oak-pine forests (1.6 million acres), as well as bottomland hardwood and other types (Rose 2009).
The forest products industry and related activities generate over $23 billion of annual economic activity in Virginia, and employ over 144,000 people (VDOF 2010). However, this does not include the enormous value of environmental services provided by forests and individual trees; that is, improved air and water quality, habitat for wildlife species, moderation of microclimate, carbon dioxide sequestration, and other services. Also, forests in Virginia provide many non-timber forest products, such as botanical herbs, forest fruits, materials for crafts, and many others. Finally, many individuals and communities value forests as a place for social or cultural interaction, such as fishing or hiking with friends.
Most forestland in Virginia, like the rest of the US Southeast, is privately owned. In fact, about 80% of Virginia forestland is owned by non-industrial private forest landowners (Rose 2009). Of these, 89% have less than 50 acres. This places a premium on dissemination of knowledge and best practices to private individuals.
Find out more about careers in Forestry and Natural Resources.
Forestry at Virginia State University
VSU’s School of Agriculture, Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Virginia Department of Forestry have agreed to cooperate, based on each institution's strengths. VSU has identified the three potential focal areas for its Forestry program: Small Woodlot Management, Urban Forest Management and Alternative Forest Production Systems. Each focal area will consist of three parts: Research, Extension, and Education. To provide feedback on these focal areas, please contact VSU Forestry and Natural Resource Faculty.
VSU is discussing establishment of a degree program in the area of Natural Resources and Forestry. If you are a prospective student interested in this area, please let us know. If you are an organization or business that hires forestry and natural resource professionals, or is interested in supporting our program, please contact VSU Forestry and Natural Resource Faculty.
- Dr. Comer and Dr. Frey speak to Markette Smith on Fox Morning Marketplace (Aired Nov. 20, 2012)
- Virginia Cooperative Extension
- Virginia Department of Forestry
- Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program (Virginia Tech/Virginia Cooperative Extension)
- Virginia Forestry Association
- Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
- Chesapeake Bay Foundation
- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
- USDA Forest Service