Message from the State Forester
The N.C. Forest Service is one of the premier forestry agencies in the United States. Being the first state where professional forestry was practiced, North Carolina has a rich forestry tradition. For over 100 years, forestry professionals have worked for the State of North Carolina to protect and improve these most valuable of natural resources.
The N.C. Forest Service envisions a North Carolina with healthy trees and forests that provide essential environmental, economic and social benefits served by a professional workforce recognized as a leader in forest protection, emergency response, resource management and environmental education. Our mission in meeting this vision is to "protect, manage and promote forest resources for the citizens of North Carolina."
Our highly trained workforce of over 700 protects the more than 18 million acres of forestland in North Carolina from the threat of wildfire, insects and diseases. In responding to the more than 4,500 wildfires that annually occur in the state, our fire managers face the challenge of protecting the forest, lives and homes as North Carolina has the most acres of Wildland Urban Interface in the nation. These are areas where homes and development are intermingled with forestland. This challenge will only become greater as our population continues to grow.
Unlike many forestry agencies, the same personnel who manage wildfires assist private landowners in managing their almost 14 million acres of forestland in the state. Landowners are given advice and assistance in managing their forest resources for a wide variety of benefits, including timber, soil and water quality, wildlife, aesthetic beauty and recreational uses. Our intention in helping landowners sustainably manage their forests is to keep our state's forests productive while providing many other benefits. Keeping these lands as working forests helps prevent them from being lost to development.
We promote our forest resources for the economic value they provide and the addition they make to the quality of life for our citizens. In fact, the forest products industry generates $24 billion to the State's economy annually, providing almost 180,000 jobs and $1.5 billion in exports. Our staff seeks to expand the markets for forest products for the landowners in the state while educating our ever-increasing urban population about the benefits provided by forest resources and helping to give all our citizens a tie to the land.