DCNR Bureau of Forestry
The DCNR Bureau of Forestry’s mission is to ensure the long-term health, viability, and productivity of the commonwealth’s forests and to conserve native wild plants. The bureau will accomplish this mission by:
- Managing state forests under sound ecosystem management, to retain their wild character and maintain biological diversity while providing pure water, opportunities for low-density recreation, habitats for forest plants and animals, sustained yields of quality timber, and environmentally sound utilization of mineral resources.
- Protecting forestlands, public and private, from damage and/or destruction by fires, insects, diseases, and other agents.
- Promoting forestry and the knowledge of forestry by advising and assisting other government agencies, communities, landowners, forest industry, and the general public in the wise stewardship and utilization of forest resources.
- Protecting and managing native wild flora resources by determining status, classifying, and conserving native wild plants.
What We Do
Advocate and Promote Forest Conservation
The bureau is the state’s lead forest conservancy agency. The bureau advocates and provides leadership on issues related to the management of the commonwealth’s forests, trees, and native plants.
Forestry Information and Outreach
The bureau plays an instrumental role in providing credible information about the conditions and status of Pennsylvania’s forest resources to industry, academia, other government agencies, and conservation organizations.
The bureau is actively involved in public outreach on topics ranging from woodlot management to wildfire prevention, invasive species control, and urban tree planting.
Prevent and Suppress Wildfires
The bureau is responsible for extinguishing forest wildfires on both public and private land. Each year, personnel assist in the suppression of approximately 600 wildfires on 6,000 acres across the commonwealth. Bureau personnel educate the public about wildfire risk and prevention, and train volunteers and local fire companies in wildfire suppression.
Protect the Forest from Destructive Insects and Disease
The bureau is responsible for monitoring and managing destructive forest insects and diseases on all commonwealth lands. It coordinates statewide suppression and spraying efforts on ecologically disruptive invasive insects, such as the gypsy moth.
Conserve Native Plants
The bureau manages and conserves Pennsylvania’s rich diversity of native, wild plant communities across public and private ownerships. The bureau is responsible for determining the status and classification of the 3,000 native wild plant species in Pennsylvania. Of those, more than 500 are ranked as state-listed, “Rare,” “Threatened,” or “Endangered.”
Conserve Private Forest Land
Approximately 70 percent of the commonwealth’s forest land is privately owned. Through its outreach programs, the bureau provides leadership and technical assistance in conserving and managing these important forest lands.
Promote Community Forests and Tree Planting
Through its partnerships and programs, the bureau provides leadership and coordination in planting and maintaining trees in cities and towns across the commonwealth. Tree cover in communities helps improve the environment, manage stormwater, conserve energy, and revitalize downtowns and main streets.
Manage the Certified State Forest System
The state forest system of Pennsylvania -- 2.2 million acres in 48 of 67 counties -- comprises 13 percent of the forested area of the commonwealth. These forest lands represent one of the largest expanses of wildland in the eastern United States, making them a truly priceless public asset.
The bureau proudly manages this third-party certified forest with an ecosystem management approach to provide a multitude of uses, values and resources to Pennsylvania citizens.
Protect Water Quality
The state forest system serves as the headwaters and living filter for municipal drinking water supplies and thousands of miles of high-quality coldwater streams. Sound management of our state forests helps keep these important waters clean.
The bureau also coordinates tree planting along streams on private land to help improve water quality in Pennsylvania waterways and places like the Chesapeake Bay.
Sustainably Harvest Timber on State Forest Land
Each year, the bureau sustainably harvests approximately 15,000 acres across the state forest system. Harvesting serves multiple goals, including providing a steady flow of wood products to the economy; creating wildlife habitat; and enhancing forest health and diversity.
Manage Natural Gas Activity
The bureau manages natural gas activity on 700,000 acres within the state forest system. Bureau forest managers, ecologists, botanists, foresters, geologists, and forest planners work to minimize and mitigate the environmental effects of well pads, roads, pipelines, and rights-of-way.
Provide Forest Recreation Opportunities
Citizens look to Pennsylvania’s state forest system for a variety of recreational activities, from scenic driving to hiking, camping, hunting, and snowmobiling. The bureau maintains thousands of miles of trails, roads and related infrastructure to accommodate state forest visitors and ensure quality low-density recreational experiences.
Ellen Shultzabarger is presently the Pennsylvania State Forester and Director of the Bureau of Forestry.
As director, Shultzabarger is responsible for oversight of the DCNR Bureau of Forestry, which includes:
2.2 million acres of state forest lands
Forest fire management across the commonwealth
Forest insect and disease control and management
Conservation of Pennsylvania's native wild plants, including the PA Natural Diversity Inventory
Promoting the conservation of all Pennsylvania's forest land -- both public and private.