Future Challenges for Foresters

Outcomes and Actions

Download Future Challenges for Foresters – Outcomes and ActionsThe New England SAF and the New York State SAF released the final report  on July 30, 2007 for distribution. 


In the highly urbanized communities of the Northeast, people have difficulty understanding the full range of goods and services provided by the surrounding forests. While these same folks enjoy viewing wildlife, recreating in the outdoors, and are accustomed to clean fresh water, they fail to recognize the vital connection between these values and the surrounding forest. Urbanization has become both a challenge and an opportunity for the professional forester.

A retreat was held in June 2006 to begin a dialogue on the future challenges facing professional foresters in the New England and New York State Societies. The following comments, identified by retreat participants highlight the tough issues as well as opportunities that foresters will encounter between now and the year 2020.

  • “There is limited land base (parcelization) and increasing competition for its use.”
  • “There is a perceived adversarial feeling between forestry and conservation/preservation groups.”
  • “A disconnect of society from the land.”
  • “There is an aging forester population.”
  • “There is increasing polarization and fragmentation within the profession.”
  • “We have to contend with global economics and world trade.”

Action items, identified during the retreat, underscore the need for the forestry profession, and particularly SAF, to be proactive. Forest management in the near future will be different throughout the region, but nowhere more so than in areas experiencing rapid population increases. Foresters are going to have to know more than silviculture and will have to develop stronger professional partnerships to maintain their value to society. Professional foresters will need to become more marketable and develop a diverse set of skills to be successful into the future and relevant in 2020. An end effect may be that foresters might be of more service to the broader public as members of interdisciplinary management teams. To that effect, the organizational structure of SAF with its chapters, divisions, state societies, and national staff all can play a part in providing continuing education, training, and a network serving as both a personal and professional support system to foresters throughout the region.

Sponsored by:
New England Society of American Foresters
And New York Society of American Foresters
Supported by:
Society of American Foresters
Published: July 30, 2007

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To contact NESAF, please email the appropriate member of our Board of Directors. General questions can be directed to our Chair or the website administrator at webadmin@nesaf.org.


New England Society of American Foresters
54 Portsmouth Street
Concord, NH 03301