The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DCNR) Bureau of Forestry has released their draft strategic plan titled “Forests for All: A Plan for Pennsylvania’s Forest and People.”

This strategic plan addresses the growing challenges facing Pennsylvania’s forests. With roughly 17 million acres of forestland, the PA DCNR aims to maintain the health of these forests and foster a healthy relationship between the land and the people who enjoy the outdoors. The PA DCNR manages 2.2 million acres of forestland owned by the Commonwealth, and also provides education and outreach for private landowners.

The draft plan’s vision states:

“Forests are part of Pennsylvania’s shared history, and in many ways, give Pennsylvania its most identifiable characteristic and sense of place. We in the Bureau of Forestry are committed to our mission of conserving, stewarding, and enhancing Pennsylvania’s trees, forests, and native wild plants in connection with all the people and communities we serve. We do this with the following vision:

  • A Pennsylvania of abundant, healthy, and resilient trees, forests, and native wild plants;
  • An engaged populace that values and equitably receives the benefits these resources provide; and
  • People and communities across Pennsylvania that are inspired and empowered to steward these resources.”

Some of the 10-year challenges and goals suggested in the draft plan include:

  • Reducing current rates of forest loss by 5,000 acres per year
  • Restoring 50,000 acres of non-forest to forest by tree planting
  • Permanently conserving 150,000 acres of forest land vulnerable to development
  • Increasing carbon storage and sequestration
  • Connecting with the 13 million people who call Pennsylvania home, interacting with all 500 school districts
  • Planting 50,000 trees in cities, towns, and communities across Pennsylvania
  • Enhancing and maintaining 100,000 acres of riparian forest buffers to protect Pennsylvania’s critical watersheds that supply life-sustaining clean water to communities

Check out the full draft plan here.

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