There are nearly 16 million acres of forested land in Virginia – covering nearly two-thirds of the state. People are often surprised to learn that private landowners own almost 80 percent of those 16 million acres.
The Woodland Options for Landowners short course, offered by Virginia Cooperative Extension natural resources agents in cooperation with the Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Environment, aims to teach the more than 300,000 private landowners how to be good stewards of the commonwealth’s forests and to make informed decisions about their land.
“The goal of this program is to help forest landowners understand the value of their land and to encourage them to create a management plan to sustain that value,” says Matt Yancey, Extension natural resources agent in Rockingham County, one of five such agents spread across the state.
Landowners often need to learn what types of trees are growing on their land and which ones may be of timber value, as well as explore the value of the wildlife habitat of their property. The course connects landowners with Virginia agencies and professional foresters who provide this information and help with short- and long-term planning.
“The Woodland Options for Landowners course is one component of our Forest Landowner Education Program,” says Jennifer Gagnon, coordinator of the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program at Virginia Tech.
“Through this effort, we help promote the wise use of Virginia’s forests while maintaining the health and productivity of forest resources for future generations.” This article was originally published in Solutions.