Managing Forests & Woodlands

With proper management, forests and backyard woodlands can provide landowners with many opportunities for income, recreation, and stewardship of native plants and wildlife. However, poorly managed forests can suffer from pests and disease, trees of poor quality, and invasive exotic plants that choke out desirable native species.

Forestry consultants, foresters, and the Virginia Department of Forestry Services can help you maximize the value of the forests by developing a forest management plan.

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Before you Harvest Timber

  • Be sure to check the qualifications and references for anybody who is going to be removing trees from your property. Disreputable contractors may offer a price that is below the market value for your timber, or they may selectively take only the healthiest and most valuable trees, leaving only the unhealthy and low-value trees. This process, known as "high-grading," can destroy the future value of your forest, since it removes both the best trees and their ability to provide good seeds for the next generation of trees, while allowing seeds from low-value trees to spread. By working with qualified experts in the field of forestry, you can ensure that you meet both your current and future goals for your property.
  • If your forest is within a Steep Slopes, Mountainside, or Limestone Overlay District, County law requires you to submit a forest management plan to the County and the Virginia Forest Service before cutting any timber. You can contact the Building and Development Department at 703-777-0220 to determine if your property falls within one of these districts.

Information for Professionals