RD135 - 2014 State of the Forest

Executive Summary:
It’s an honor to present to you the 2014 State of the Forest Report – my first as your new State Forester of Virginia. Because I didn’t begin my position until May of this year – 10 months into the 2014 fiscal year – much of the credit for overseeing all of the good work performed by the men and women of the VDOF belongs to Deputy State Forester Rob Farrell and to my predecessor Carl Garrison, who retired as State Forester in January. I’m grateful to both of them for their efforts in guiding this “ship” prior to my arrival.

While I’m relatively new to the position of State Forester, I do have a significant history with the Virginia Department of Forestry. I began my forestry career here and held a number of increasingly responsible positions during my 14-year tenure at VDOF. My previous experience in senior leadership positions with nonprofit land conservation and natural resource agencies along with the 14 years I worked at the department, prepared me well for the many challenges and opportunities facing forestry and the natural resources arena. I’m thrilled to be back in the Commonwealth working on behalf of the 373,600 Virginians who control approximately 80 percent of the forestland and helping enhance the department’s programs and services during its second century.

As you know, 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the creation of the VDOF, and we’ve had a varied and diverse set of events throughout the year that have stretched from one end of the Commonwealth to the other to commemorate this milestone. These events and activities wouldn’t have been possible without the support of a number of people and entities who partnered with us. We owe a debt of gratitude to Gov. Terry and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe and their staffs; Lt. Gov. and Mrs. Ralph Northam and his staff; Secretary Todd Haymore and his team; Del. James Edmunds and the Virginia General Assembly; the Board of Forestry; the Virginia Lottery; the Virginia Department of Transportation; the Virginia Museum of Transportation; The Chrysler Museum of Art; the National Agricultural Library; NASCAR Green and the NASCAR race tracks in Richmond, Martinsville, South Boston and Hampton; the Appalachian Chapter of the Society of American Foresters; the Virginia Forestry Association; the Virginia Consulting Foresters; the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival; the Virginia Forest Products Association; the Virginia Farm Bureau and the State Fair of Virginia; the Virginia Agribusiness Council; Dominion Resources and the Richmond Christmas Parade, and all of the VDOF employees who helped make this a year to remember.

In the pages that follow, you will read about VDOF’s success in the areas of forest management, resource protection, land conservation, water quality protection, forest research, forest health, urban and community forestry, ecosystem services, forest utilization and markets, state forests, tree nurseries and conservation education. I trust that you will enjoy this issue of the annual State of the Forest Report, and I look forward to any feedback you wish to share.


/s/ Bettina K. Ring
State Forester