Southern New England, its Forests, and the People Who Love Them
Southern New England, comprising the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, is home to three-quarters of the population of New England as a whole. As foresters working in this region, we face the constant challenges of development pressure and competing land uses threatening the longevity of our forestland. Southern New England is also seeing and expecting a variety of impacts on our forests as a result of climate change.
Changes may include altered weather patterns and precipitation, changes in seasonal temperatures, and increased forest pests, pathogens, and invasive plants. All of these make sound, responsible forest management all the more important to our forests.
According to a 2015 report from the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station, Southern New England is 59% forested. Broken down by state, Connecticut is 56% forested, Massachusetts 61%, and Rhode Island 55%. Close to two-thirds of forestland across all three states is privately owned, with much of that acreage under the ownership of families and individuals. Oak/hickory is the dominant forest type in the region.
To learn more about how we manage the common forest types in Southern New England, and to find resources for private landowners and others interested in sustainably managing their forests, we hope you’ll take a spin around our site!
As members of the Yankee Division of the Society of American Foresters, we focus on issues critical to the forests of Southern New England, while also benefiting from the resources, learning, and networking available at the New England and National levels of SAF. Each year, we gather at National, New England, and Yankee Division meetings to share knowledge, research, successes, and challenges in our work.
For More Information on the Society of American Foresters, including how to join, visit https://www.eforester.org/.
The New England Society of American Foresters (NESAF) can be found at https://nesaf.org/, and you can visit our official Yankee Division SAF page at https://nesaf.org/about-us/divisions-chapters/yankee-division/.
Yankee Division SAF is proud to partner with other organizations working to promote sustainable and responsible forest management and conservation in Southern New England. These include:
Visit the forestry resources in each southern New England State:
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Forestry Division
The Connecticut Forest Action Plan analyzes the current conditions and trends of forests in Connecticut and lays out strategies and action steps to best plan for the future of the forested landscape. It is updated every 10 years. You can check out the 2020 plan on the DEEP website: https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Forestry/CT-Forest-Action-Plan, and be sure to have a look at the excellent interactive maps describing the plan and priority areas in the state!
The UMass Amherst Extension forestry site for landowners: Masswoods.org
The Massachusetts Forest Action Plan provides an analysis of forest conditions and trends in Massachusetts, identifies threats to forest land and resources, identifies priority areas where federally funded cooperative forestry program outreach and activity can be emphasized and coordinated, and outlines strategies to address the threats to forest resources and ensure healthy trees and forests into the future. The Massachusetts 2020 plan is available here: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/massachusetts-forest-action-plan. Check out the interactive map for a visual tour of plan highlights and samples!
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM): Forestry Division
The Rhode Island 2020 Forest Action Plan discusses facts, trends, benefits and issues of concern, as well as priorities, goals, and strategies for the management of forest land. With this clear and thoughtful action planning process, the Division hopes to initiate positive change and meaningful improvements to the State’s forest resources, and all of the creatures it serves.
View the 2020 plan here: http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/forestry/forest-action-plan/index.php
See an executive summary here: http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/bnatres/forest/pdf/forest-action-plan/fap-es.pdf