Department of Environmental Protection

New Jersey Forest Service

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State Forest Lands

The New Jersey Forest Service monitors and maintains 837,230 acres of state-owned open space – that’s an area as large as the entire state of Rhode Island. These forests work hard – they produce clean water and air, absorb runoff, store and sequester carbon, provide recreation, and are home to thousands of species of plants and wildlife. To keep our forests productive, NJ Forest Service monitors biodiversity, creates wildlife habitats, prevents and suppresses pest outbreaks and restores ecologically significant areas.

Management of our forests incorporates the best forest stewardship principles derived from a forest management plan developed with public input.

Current Projects
  • Generate a new population of mixed oaks and pines through a shelterwood harvest.
  • Follow harvesting activities with prescribed burning and site preparation to encourage establishment and regeneration of oak and shortleaf pine species.
  • Species of white oak, chestnut oak, and black oak have and will continue to be planted to supplement natural regeneration thanks to work with the One Tree Planted organization and their donors

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  • Generate a new population of mixed-oaks.
  • Encourage a more resilient forest by promoting regeneration of oak.
  • Tools to ensure a successful project will include deer fencing, prescribed burning, and invasive control as needed.
  • Introduce disturbance (fire) to decrease fuel buildup (leaves and debris on forest floor).
  • Open up the canopy with a shelterwood harvest, which will allow light to reach the forest floor.
  • Leave patches of forest undisturbed to create a mixed and diverse favorable habitat for rare species.
  • Improve health of trees remaining on site.

Straddling Lacey and Berkeley Townships, Double Trouble State Park is an 8,677 acre forested area which comprises a wide array of forest types and ecological communities, such as upland pine stands to the steadily declining Atlantic white-cedar swamps, with a rich historic presence found in Double Trouble Village. Using a multi-disciplinary plan development process, the Double Trouble State Park Natural Resource Stewardship Plan was developed by a committee of representatives from several agencies within the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Natural and Historic Resources Group (NJ State Forestry Services: Bureau of Forestry, Forest Fire Service, NJ Office of Natural Lands Management; NJ State Parks Service; NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife) with external stakeholders’ input.

Each recommended activity conveys the goals and objectives set forth by the NHR working group and guided by the internationally recognized Montreal Process for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests. Such goals include, but are not limited to, conserving ecologically important habitat, maintaining productive capacity of the landscape, and providing social and economic benefits through harvesting and fire management. The established objectives are achieved through the use of Best Management Practices for forestry, fire, and habitat management, with the overall result of a healthier forested ecosystem. Best management practices for forestry are trusted as guidelines for techniques that are most effective operationally yet minimize negative environmental impacts.

Read the Double Trouble State Park Natural Resource Stewardship Plan.

  • Purpose: Wildfire Strategic Risk Reduction through road maintenance of Washington Turnpike (25 acres total – 5 miles of road) and three silvilcutural thinnings (745 acres total).
  • Road Maintenance included harvesting of trees along the shoulders (20 feet either side) and removal of stumps closest to the road edge for re-grading and re-establishment of roadside ditch to correctly drain the road as well as culvert replacement to restore road function and to overall restore fire break functionality.
  • Silvicultural thinning included cutting of smaller trees lower in the canopy to reduce forest density, increase forest health, provide a strategic fuelbreak by breaking up the fuel ladder, and reduce risk of southern pine beetle attack.
  • Completed: Tree harvesting along road, most removal of stumps, and re-grading of road, maintenance work remains active. Thinning of final Eastern Section 119 acres total, work remains active.

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  • Silvicultural thinning of 106 acres to increase and maintain forest health and resilience, while reducing forest fuels, the risk of wildfire, and threat of southern pine beetle attack.
  • Cutting activities via chainsaw were completed in May of 2020.
  • Site preparation activities including prescribe burning are planned over the next few years.
  • Silvicultural thinning of 57 acres to reduce competition induced tree mortality while continuing to perpetuate the current stand composition, as well as increasing and maintaining forest health by cutting unhealthy, suppressed, and poorly formed smaller diameter tree species.
  • Cutting activities via brushsaw and chainsaw were completed in January of 2021.
  • Site preparation activities including prescribe burning are planned over the next few years.
  • Silvicultural thinning of 13 acres as a follow-up treatment from previous activities to encourage the development of a native shortleaf pine dominated stand with a healthy and vigorous younger age class.
  • Thinning activities were initiated using volunteers with hand saws and were completed via a contractor using a chainsaw and brushsaw in February of 2021.
  • Site preparation activities including prescribe burning are planned over the next few years.
  • Restoration activities on 150 acres have been initiated including single tree selection of competing species of trees through girdling and cutting to allow small patches of growing space for the regeneration of Hemlock.
  • Site preparation treatments including planting of propagated hemlock trees from the NJ State Tree Nursery and deer fencing have also been initiated.
  • Activities to be completed over the next several years include continued single tree selection, planting, deer fencing and site scarification treatments.

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  • As part of a larger 22-state shortleaf pine initiative to restore the specialized ecosystem’s functionality, value, and services this 32 acre site was thinned to encourage the development of a native open-canopy shortleaf pine and oak dominated stand with a healthy and vigorous younger age class.
  • Cutting activities were completed in 2018
  • Site preparation activities including prescribe burning are planned over the next few years

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