Forestland Loss

* Note: the language below is taken from the introduction section of Executive Directive 06-1.

Forests cover over 8 million acres of the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Virginia. These forestlands make significant contributions to the natural and economic health of the Commonwealth. The forests of the Chesapeake watershed contribute approximately $12 billion to the economy of Virginia and provide employment for over 90,000 people. These same forests also provide wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities, improve air quality and help to protect the quality of drinking water for 4.4 million people. Forests play an important part in the quality of life and natural beauty found in Virginia.

Unfortunately, Virginia’s rapid population growth puts these forests and their benefits at risk. Virginia is losing forestland at a rate of 26,000 acres per year and much of this loss is occurring within the Chesapeake watershed. Loss of forest acres and the fragmentation of the remaining acres reduces the potential of the forest to provide economic, social and ecological benefits for the Commonwealth and its residents.

To continue reading the directive, click here.

Additional Resources

Virginia’s Forest Action Plan

Forest Legacy Program

Riparian Buffer Tax Credit

Healthy Forests (Rappahannock River Basin Commission report)