Department of Environmental Protection

New Jersey Forest Service

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New Jersey State Forest Action Plan

Located within the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Parks and Forestry, the Forest Service (NJDEP Forest Service) is the steward of all forests and trees across the state. Through sustainable science-based management and conservation practices, the NJDEP Forest Service promotes the resilience of New Jersey’s forests and their interdependent natural systems in the face of societal needs and a climate crisis that demands urgent and decisive action.

While forest managers may have previously looked at forests through a narrow lens focused on commercial value of timber, New Jersey embraces a holistic approach to forestry management that values the multitude of natural resources services that our forests provide including habitat and recreational areas, and ecosystem services such as contributions to clean air, water, global carbon cycles, wildfire and flood mitigation.

The 2020 NJ State Forest Action Plan (NJ SFAP) reassesses the state’s forest resources and provides forest owners, land managers, and other natural resource professionals with the ability to make informed decisions about forest resources across the state.

Frequently Asked Questions

State Forest Action Plan (SFAP):

  • 10-year Strategic Plan
  • 5-year review
  • Required for federal funding
  • 10-year update was required by December 2020
  • Assessment of Need

Broad Strategic Vision

  • Philosophies for the Department
  • "Rosetta Stone" for Forest Management - Common language
  • Connections between NJ, regional, and national forest resource issues
  • Outlining priority goals and priority areas

Assessment (Trends/Conditions)

  • Based on Montreal Process
  • Forest Conditions and Trends
  • Issues, Threats, Opportunities
  • ID Priority Landscape Areas - In state and multi-state

Strategies (Action)

  • Goals and Priorities - Three National Priorities
  • Strategies to achieve
  • Implementation (if known)
  • Stakeholder Outreach

Dear Friend of New Jersey’s Forests,

Forests are among our state’s most critical natural resources. Forests cover 40 percent of New Jersey and help to clean our air and water, provide recreation for our residents and visitors, and are home to wildlife and rare plant habitat that enrich our natural environment. New Jerseyans do not just experience their forests in rural or undeveloped areas, but within our largest cities and throughout our densest suburbs. These forests reduce stormwater runoff, filter the air around us, keep us cooler in the summer, and add more beauty to communities across our state.

New Jersey’s forests are also one of our greatest resources in the fight against climate change.

I am pleased to share with you the New Jersey State Forest Action Plan, a document that presents strategies for how New Jersey will manage its two million acres of forests over the coming decade. Ten years may seem like a long time to us, but less so in the life of a tree. This plan is a product of extensive study, engagement with many stakeholders, and deep experience within forests across New Jersey. This plan explains the challenges our forests face and the opportunities we will have over the coming decade to maintain and expand this vital natural resource for the benefit of all New Jerseyans and those well beyond our borders.

We invite you to join the New Jersey Forest Service in our unending mission to keep our forests healthy and to share in their wonder.

John Sacco, State Forester
NJ Forest Service