Forests in Delaware cover about 370,000 acres or around one-third of the First State. But did you know that more than 75 percent of forests are owned privately, mostly by individuals and families? These “non-industrial private forest” (NIPF) lands constitute sustainable and renewable resources that provide many natural benefits: clean water, wildlife habitat, better air quality, places for recreation, and valuable wood products. With proper management, these precious resources can continue to provide benefits far into the future, but Delaware’s forests need to be managed for health and sustainability.
Learn the benefits of sustainable forestry and some common myths about forests
Challenge: Keep 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.
Read about the Forest Stewardship Program
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 prepared 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’re 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 forests that are 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.
How do learn more?
If you are interested in a Forest Stewardship Plan, consult the service forester map.
For additional information, contact:
Sam L. Topper, Senior Forester
Forest Stewardship Coordinator (vacant) & Wildland Fire Supervisor
Delaware Forest Service
Redden State Forest, 18074 Redden Forest Drive, Georgetown, DE 19947
(302) 856-2893 (302) 856-5039 FAX
Email: Sam Topper