Why Conserve?


Does your hemlock look like this? It could be infested with a nasty forest pest that is threatening our state tree. Learn more.

Resources in Danger: Trees & Forests

Our hemlocks shade chilled, pristine waters of countless trout streams, and shield fish, game, songbirds and other wild animals from predators and the elements.

The maple’s fiery foliage draws tourists to small towns from the Ohio to the New Jersey state lines.

The mighty oak’s strength builds an industry that employs thousands, carries a dollar value in the millions. Its mast crop feeds an array of game and wild animals that makes Pennsylvania the envy of a nation.

Our prized black cherry fuels an international trade with exports totaling almost $1 billion a year.

When the crack of a bat signals a home-run ball heading for ballpark bleachers across the nation, chances are a Pennsylvania ash put it there.

These are just some of the prime ingredients of Penn's Woods. The pride of a state, they cover 17 million acres of the Keystone State. Forests provide vital habitat for a wide array of flora and fauna, including many rare, threatened, and endangered species. They also protect the watersheds providing some of the cleanest water found in the Commonwealth for drinking and recreational opportunities. Our forests provide all this while facing dramatic increases in recreational activities vital to Pennsylvania’s tourism industry. Just the harvest of quality hardwood timber alone helps support the state’s $5 billion forest products industry employing almost 100,000 people.

The threats. Wooly adelgid infestations imperil hemlocks to the east and south. Deer, gypsy moths and other problems threaten oak and cherry to the north. Emerald ash borers raise their menacing heads to the west. And, virtually everywhere, fragmentation takes a toll on the collective beauty and bounty of Penn’s Woods.

One only has to look at recent Pennsylvania Audubon findings that tick off the once-common bird species declining as woodlands and valuable habitat disappear. Meanwhile, anglers, hikers and many others worry aloud over the loss of hemlocks, our state tree, to insects.

The future. What can you do? Plenty. Visit DCNR’s Forestry page for more details.

 • Learn about deer over browsing and insect and invasive plant threats and what you can do about them.

 • Learn how to enroll your property in the Forest Stewardship program, and other services offered private landowners.

 • Manage the exotic invasive species on your property through this tutorial

 • Plant trees through in your local community. TreeVitalize is a great example of a public/private partnership that is working to address the loss of tree cover in the five-county Southeastern Pennsylvania region.

 • American Chestnut Foundation: working to restore what once was the heart of Pennsylvania’s forests—before the blight.

 • National Arbor Day Foundation: tree-planting and environmental stewardship nonprofit membership organization.