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Buchanan State Forest

Buchanan State Forest is named in honor of James Buchanan, fifteenth President of the United States. Buchanan State Forest covers 71,683 acres in:

  • Franklin County
  • Fulton County
  • Bedford County

Buchanan’s woodlands straddle the iconic ridges of southcentral Pennsylvania.

The 19 tracts of Buchanan State Forest occupy upper slopes in the southern portion of the Ridge and Valley region of Pennsylvania. The forests are generally mixed oak communities interrupted by groves of pine, with hemlock or red maple dominating cooler ravines.

The variety of oaks includes:

  • White oak
  • Red oak
  • Chestnut oak
  • Scarlet oak
  • Black oak

Other members of the community include:

  • Sweet birch
  • Blackgum
  • White pine

Dogwood and striped maple are abundant in the understory, as are heaths (mountain laurel, low-bush blueberry, huckleberry, and teaberry).

Some abandoned farmlands in southern Bedford County, now part of the state forest, have seeded in naturally to Virginia pine on shallow, infertile soils.

Buchanan State Forest Management

DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry manages our state forests for their long-term health and productivity while conserving native wild plants. These forests are “working forests” and provide a whole suite of uses and values to Pennsylvania citizens, all while maintaining the forest’s wild character.

Our state forests are managed for:

  • Pure water
  • Recreation
  • Scenic beauty
  • Plant and animal habitat
  • Sustainable timber and natural gas
  • Many other uses and values

The management of our state forests is guided by the State Forest Resource Management Plan.

Buchanan State Forest Resource Management Plan (SFRMP)

A district-level state forest resource management plan is written for each of the bureau’s 20 forest districts across the state.

Buchanan State Forest staff hosted a public meeting (PDF) about its draft management plan in 2018. Public comments and responses (PDF) to the plan are available to review.

Using public input and building on the statewide 2016 management plan, the Bureau of Forestry revised and completed a new Buchanan SFRMP (PDF), setting district-level management priorities.

2023 Management Activities

View Buchanan State Forest’s 2023 management activities (PDF) for upcoming projects and events to implement the State Forest Resource Management Plan.

Harvest Schedule

Local state forest harvest schedules promote and maintain desired forest landscape conditions while providing a sustainable flow of forest products.

Ecosystem Management

The Bureau of Forestry has adopted “ecosystem management” as its principal strategy for managing state forests. This approach seeks to conserve the natural patterns and processes of the forest while advancing long-term sustainability.

Ecosystem management promotes the conservation of plant and animal communities and the landscapes and habitats that support them. It also accounts for needs and values of people and communities.

This results in a holistic, integrated approach to managing forest resources.

A Working Forest

As you travel throughout the state forest, you’ll see examples of our forests “at work.” Some of these management practices are more noticeable than others, such as:

  • Active timber harvests
  • Deer exclosure fences
  • Natural gas drilling sites
  • Prescribed fires
  • Gypsy moth spraying

Others are more subtle, such as:

  • Protection of a vernal pool
  • Buffering of a stream from timber harvesting
  • Designating a special area to conserve its wild character or protect a rare plant community

Each of these management practices and activities play a vital role in the management and conservation of our state forest system.

Dual Certified Forest

Pennsylvania’s 2.2-million-acre state forest system is one of the largest dual certified forests in North America. The forest is certified under Forest Stewardship Council™ and Sustainable Forestry Initiative© standards.

The FSC© is an independent organization supporting environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.

SFI© certification focuses on protection of water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk, and forests with exceptional conservation value.
Dual certification ensures that Pennsylvania’s state forests are managed to the highest third-party standards.

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​Explore Buchanan State Forest

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Buchanan State Forest