Center for Private Forests Promoting Forest Regeneration through Conservation Innovation Grant

Posted: January 14, 2016

The Center for Private Forests at Penn State recently applied for and was awarded a highly competitive national Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to address one of Pennsylvania’s top forest health concerns—the lack of adequate forest regeneration as forests mature.

Pennsylvania’s forests are aging. At the same time, tree seedlings and saplings which should become the next forest are absent in many forest stands. Without active management to improve regeneration, the effect on the species composition and diversity of Pennsylvania’s forests will be far-reaching and long-lasting. For the next generation of forests to become established, actions that include assessment and management of competing vegetation, deer, and light levels are essential.

This three-year initiative acknowledges that because most of our woodlands are privately owned, working with landowners—especially those new to owning or managing land—is essential to the future health of our forests.

The Center for Private Forests will train landowners (or managers) across the state to:

  1. assess whether or not tree seedlings are successfully growing in their own woodlands
  2. identify actions to take to give those seedlings the best chance for survival,
  3. share what they learn with other landowners through personal interactions and demonstrations of the regeneration assessment.

In addition, the project will connect landowners to existing resources for further education and assistance—namely, regional Woodland Owner Associations (WOAs) and NRCS Forestry EQIP programs.