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About the N.C. Forest Service

First in Forestry License Plate

North Carolina's forest land is one of the greatest influences on the state, providing economic value and adding immeasurably to the quality of life for its residents. The forest products industry is the largest manufacturing business sector in the state, contributing approximately $34.9 billion annually to the state's economy and providing around 148,000 jobs for North Carolinians. The NC Forest Service's primary purpose is to ensure adequate and quality forest resources for the state to meet its present and future needs.

The Forest Service is mandated and directed by Chapters 77, 106 and 143 of the North Carolina General Statutes and by Title 2, Chapter 60 of the North Carolina Administrative Code to protect, manage and develop the forest resources of the state. The techniques used to accomplish this mandate involve management of existing resources, development and creation of new and better forests, and protection of these valuable resources.

The programs under these objectives are directed at the thousands of private landowners who collectively own 13.8 million acres of the state's 18 million acres of forest land. Programs include reforestation services, forest fire prevention and suppression, and insect and disease control. The agency also is involved in the genetic improvement of forest trees, seedling production at state nurseries, long range forestry planning and technical development, water quality controls, urban forestry assistance, training, and support to volunteer fire departments and forestry education.

The NC Forest Service is organized as follows:

  • Assistant Commissioner's Office -- State Forester (Raleigh)
  • Five Sections -- Administrative Services; Aviation; Forest Protection; Safety, Planning and Analysis; and Forest Management/Development (Raleigh)
  • Three Regional Offices -- Coastal (Kinston); Piedmont (Jordan Lake); and Mountain (Asheville)
  • 13 Districts headquartered at Asheville, Lenoir, Rockingham, New Bern, Rocky Mount, Fayetteville, Elizabeth City, Whiteville, Sylva, Lexington, Hillsborough, Mount Holly and Fairfield; and
  • County Forest Ranger or Forester and staff (if any) in each county.

Each county signs an agreement with the agency and shares in the cost of the county program. The county share varies from 25 to 40% depending on the tax base of the county. All personnel employed in the counties are state employees.

The county ranger is responsible for carrying out all agency programs within his or her county. The county ranger is a forest technician who has completed either a two-year forest technician course at a technical school or a comparable in-service training program administered by the agency.

Professional assistance in technical areas is provided by foresters and specialists on the district staff who are responsible for managing all programs administered by the counties within that district.

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