Private landowners control almost 9 out of every 10 acres of forestland in Delaware. These privately owned forests cover over 300,000 acres, or 25% of the state’s area.
Challenge: Keeping Delaware forests healthy while maximizing their benefits. Most forest landowners want to sustain or increase the economic value of their forest while also protecting environmental assets such as wildlife and clean water.
Solution: Delaware’s Forest Stewardship Program.
The Forest Stewardship Program brings professional natural resource management expertise to private owners to develop plans for the sustainable management of their forests. This increases the likelihood that private forests will remain productive and healthy, and that the social, economic, and environmental benefits of these lands will be realized.
How does a Forest Stewardship Plan work?
The Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service will provide for a trained forester to visit your land and discuss your management objectives. Many landowners have several objectives, such as enhancing wildlife or riparian habitat or producing timber. After your objectives are discussed and understood, the Delaware Forest Service forester will prepare your Forest Stewardship Plan. As the landowner, you must understand and approve the plan that is recorded by the Forest Service.
What happens after I get a Forest Stewardship Plan?
Forest Stewardship Plans provide guidance that you can carry out by yourself, or with the assistance of professional foresters.
As the landowner, you are asked to make a good faith commitment to implement the strategies in your plan.
Your participation in the program is strictly voluntary.
Several cost-share programs are available to help you implement your plan. A forester can discuss these with you.
Am I eligible to participate?
Most owners of nonindustrial private forests are eligible. These private forests include rural lands with existing tree cover or land suited for growing trees, preferably forest that is 10 acres in size or more.
Is there any cost or obligation for the plan?
There is no cost to a landowner for the preparation of a Forest Stewardship Plan.
For more information, contact:
Samual L. Topper, Senior Forester
Wood Utilization & Marketing Specialist
Northern Sussex County Service Forester