Forestry in the Granite State

Mount Moosilauke in Benton, NH. Credit: New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands

New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the nation with 84% of the land area (totaling 5.7 million acres) covered by forests. Its forests are dominated by northern hardwoods, white pine, oak/hickory, and spruce fir. 76% of forestland (3.6 million acres) is privately-owned by over 120,000 landowners. Forests have long been an important part of New Hampshire’s economics and culture. Their clearance to make way for farmland led to an early decline of forested acreage in New Hampshire from settlement to the late 1800s, however that period was followed by a steady increase until 1987 when loss due to conversion for development began outpacing the reversion of farmland to forests. In 1953 NH had nearly 9 acres of forest for every person. Today that figure has dropped to under 4 acres of forest for every person.

The New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands, part of the Department of Resources and Economic Development, works to steward the state’s forests and related resources and to protect and promote the values provided by trees and forests. The Division accomplishes this through a range of activities, including managing state-owned forests, monitoring and responding to forest insect and disease infestations, controlling forest fires, running forestry education and demonstration centers, carrying out statewide forest resource planning, implementing research-based outreach educational programs in forest stewardship, conducting urban and community forestry, and supporting forest industry economic development.