As part of its Open Lands Tree Planting Initiative, the Virginia Department of Forestry has hired a mapping and outreach specialist to work out of the Mecklenburg County Forestry Office. Tim Minich will analyze land-use data from multiple sources, identify appropriate land for tree planting and conduct some field forestry work in one of three outreach focus areas of the Commonwealth.
The Open Lands Tree Planting Initiative is designed to prevent the loss of forestland; increase the sustainability of the forest resource, and improve water quality and diminished species concerns. The strategies to tackle these issues are to: promote and enhance forested watersheds; improve stewardship, health, diversity of forest products, and conserve the forestland base.
Senior Area Forester Adam Smith said, “The opportunities to consider in the open land outreach are to increase forests and benefits; plant pine in the more than 71,000 acres each year that revert back to a natural forest, and to overcome the natural reversion of forest stands that are under stocked with undesirable species.”
Minich will be working with area VDOF employees who have local knowledge and extensive county contacts, along with partner agencies, such as the Soil and Water Conservation District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Farm Service Agency and Virginia Cooperative Extension. He will send letters to land owners, conduct presentations for community groups and develop landowner workshop opportunities.
Minich said, “The state target goals will be 200 new sites and more than 2,000 acres of open land on which to plant.”
Smith said, “We are confident the additional outreach efforts will pay great dividends. The Virginia Department of Forestry will provide the tools and the manpower to assist any interested landowner with available cost-share funds from state and federal sources. It is a win, win situation for all.”
Minich will focus his efforts in the counties of Mecklenburg, Lunenburg and Brunswick but will also do some work in the counties of Prince George, Sussex, Surry, Isle of Wight, Greensville, Southampton and the City of Suffolk.
To learn more about the Open Lands Tree Planting Initiative or to contact Tim Minich, please call 434.738.6123.