In 2020-21, a subcommittee of the Center for Private Forests Council worked to create a strategic plan to enhance our strengths, better define our work, and lay the course for the next five years, which was approved by the full Council in July 2021. In this document the Center sets out its Values, Aims, and Outcomes for the 2022-2026 planning horizon.

Center for Private Forests' Values

We believe…

People and Forests

  • That stewardship is best accomplished by working at the intersection of people and forests.
  • That forest landowners can contribute significantly to forest health, resilience, and vitality.
  • That an engaged community is a powerful force in improving forest health and vitality.
  • That we have an obligation to conserve forests and their value for future generations.

Working Forests

  • That working forests can provide a broad range of economic, environmental, and social benefits to the people who care for them, the wildlife that inhabits them, and society as a whole.
  • That working forests are an essential part of the ecosystem on which all of society depends.
  • That working forests require active intervention and management to maintain their health, vitality, and capacity to deliver benefits to society sustainably.

Pathways to Stewardship

  • That forest stewardship emerges through dialogue and collaboration among landowners, stewardship professionals, and communities.
  • That forest stewardship is best achieved by understanding and connecting landowner values to sustainable practices.
  • That research focused on interactions among landowners and professionals with each other and with the land is essential in developing the knowledge to catalyze change in the landscape.
  • That peer-to-peer education, which combines individual practical experience with knowledge of best practices, is an important tool for inspiring change.

Six Key Aims

  • Create Scholarship - Develop and share basic and applied research and experience to expand understanding of private forest landowners, their land, and the professionals who advise them.
  • Inspire Stewardship - Inspire and cultivate a growing community of private forest landowners adopting stewardship values and practices on their land.
  • Strengthen Connections - Foster a shared vision and understanding of stewardship among private forest landowners, professionals, and academic faculty necessary for effective collaboration on private forest stewardship.
  • Expand the Stewardship Community - Broaden the range of stewardship professionals and organizations advising private forest landowners on the stewardship of their land.
  • Inform Policy - Convey knowledge and insights to aid development and implementation of policies and practices that impact private forest landowners and their land.
  • Build infrastructure - Build the Center organization, partnering, and financial capacity to impact forest health and vitality.


  • Remain at the forefront in advancing research-based insights about private forest landowners, their land, and the professionals who advise them.
  • Collaborate broadly across the College, University, and stakeholder communities on basic and applied research opportunities, innovation educational approaches, and policies and programs.
  • Enhance understanding of how to motivate and inspire action among private forest landowners interested in stewardship.
  • Develop new insights and approaches for strengthening relationships between private forest landowners and stewardship professionals who advise them.
  • Strengthen, increase, and broaden a network of professionals available to collaborate with, and advise, private forest landowners on stewardship.
  • Build and optimize Center infrastructure, particularly the volunteer infrastructure, consistent with aims of strategic plan.

Review the full strategic plan (PDF)

James C. Finley Center for Private Forests


416 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802

James C. Finley Center for Private Forests


416 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802