Forest Management

The Forest Management Bureau is charged with the management of woodlands under state jurisdiction, cultivation and sale of seedlings for forestry and conservation, and the research, demonstration and promotion of scientific forestry. The Bureau consists of three main programs: the Timber Sale Program, the State Forest Nursery, and the Fox Research and Demonstration Forest.

The ownership and management of state woodlands in New Hampshire has a long history with clear direction provide by state law (RSA 227-G and 227-H). It is within this statutory framework that the management of state-owned woodlands is defined and carried out by the Division of Forests and Lands through its Forest Management Bureau with cooperative efforts from other state agencies.

The original State Forestry Commission was authorized by the General Court on July 29, 1881. It was determined in the early years that the purchase and management of state forests in New Hampshire would be justified by four benefits:

  • State-owned forests would serve as demonstrations of sound forestry principles;
  • Public ownership of sensitive mountain tops, cut conservatively, would retain greater value for their effects on soil erosion and stream flow than for timber production;
  • A few small tracts of rare natural beauty could be preserved; and
  • State would derive revenue from the management of forests which serve the other three purposes.

In 1996 this commitment was reaffirmed and refined by the enactment of RSA 227-H:1:

"It is hereby recognized and declared that state-owned reservations contribute to the conservation of natural resources and distinctive quality of life in the state. The public welfare of this state is served by the prudent acquisition and management of reservations to provide forest benefits and for the purposes of demonstrating sound forestry principles, protecting habitat for plants, animals, and other organisms, conserving forested watersheds, preserving areas of rare and exemplary natural beauty and ecological value, and providing for perpetual public access and use."

The aforementioned "forest benefits" are further defined in RSA 227-G:2:

"Forest benefits include, but are not limited to, forest products, a viable forest-based economy, recreation opportunities, scenic values, healthful surroundings, climate mitigation, clean water, and biologically diverse populations of plants and animals."