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Research on State Forests

Research is a valid use of Pennsylvania state forest land that increases knowledge and provides benefits to society.

The DCNR Bureau of Forestry has a long history of cooperating with researchers, and the application of research results has kept DCNR among the leaders in public forest land management.

The DCNR Bureau of Forestry requires all requests to conduct scientific studies on state forest land to be approved by the state forester to:

  • Avoid overuse of forest resources
  • Minimize potential conflicts
  • Allocate staff time

This policy facilitates communication between the DCNR Bureau of Forestry and researchers using informal agreements.

How to Request Research on Pennsylvania State Forest Lands

Those who wish to request to conduct research on state forest land should complete the Research on State Forest Land Application.

The initial request form includes the following information applicable to the project:

  • The name and mailing address of the principal investigator as well as a project title.
  • The names of all individuals involved in the study, including those who will be involved in collecting field data.
  • The names of any DCNR Bureau of Forestry personnel that will be involved in the project, including tasks and estimated time requirements.
  • If DCNR personnel are involved as investigators or cooperators, you must submit a proposal outlining manuscript handling. This proposal should include who has publication rights, who will be on the pre-publication review team, and who will be credited.
  • Describe the location and list the name of the state forest district(s) where the proposed study will occur. Please include a map (digital preferred) outlining the proposed research area. Additionally, please provide the latitude and longitude coordinates of all research points in decimal degree format.
  • Background information on the subject and related ongoing research.
  • The objectives of the study.
  • The methodologies proposed for conducting the study.
  • The expected time frame of the study.
  • Any proposed and/or potential disturbances to the study area, along with clean up and/or mitigation measures available.
  • Any permits or other approvals required by federal, state, or local government agencies.
  • Copies of labels from any chemicals used in association with the project.

Items such as maps and chemical labels that cannot be submitted electronically should be mailed to:

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Bureau of Forestry, Resource Planning and Inventory Division
PO Box 8552
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8552

Research Request Review and Approval Process 

If necessary, the DCNR Bureau of Forestry may request additional information, such as a Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory Environmental Review, in order to properly evaluate your proposal. The review process takes approximately four weeks. 

If the initial request is tentatively approved, researchers are required to sign a Conditions Acceptance Form, which will be emailed to you. Projects receive final approval when this form is signed and returned to the Division of Conservation Science and Ecological Resources. 

Questions and comments concerning research on state forest land should be directed to the local district forester or Rebecca Bowen.