Forestry in the First State

Photo: Forest Legacy Project in Delaware (Courtesy Delaware Forest Service)

Almost four hundred years after it was first settled by Dutch explorers in 1631, Delaware’s forests still cover about 370,000 acres, roughly one-third of its total land area. These forests – rural and urban, public and private – are vital to the environment, way of life, and economy of the First State.

The Delaware Forest Service's (DFS) Mission is to conserve, protect, and enhance Delaware’s forests through education, management, and professional assistance. Working with other organizations and residents, the DFS strives to ensure that Delaware’s forests will continue to provide the numerous benefits that all of its citizens enjoy.

In cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, the Delaware Forest Service administers an urban and community forestry program that provides financial and technical assistance for tree planting and tree management projects to homeowners and municipalities within the state’s 57 communities. In addition to managing over 19,000 acres of state forest for multiple public benefits such as recreation, timber production and wildlife habitat, the DFS also offers Smokey Bear, Project Learning Tree and other education programs through its two state forest education centers. Professional foresters diagnose forest pest problems and recommend treatments; develop woodland management programs; conduct forest inventories and inspections; provide information on selecting timber buyers; supervise harvesting, reforestation, and timber stand improvement activities; and assist with wildfire suppression and training programs. With the help of private and public partners such as the U.S. Forest Service and Delaware’s Open Space Program, the DFS works to conserve and protect working forests for future generations.