Restoring oaks to WNF: Five-year plan will bring the species back to Southern Ohio

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, September 25, 2019

NELSONVILLE — For thousands of years, oaks have been the dominant trees in the landscape of Appalachian Ohio, part of one of the most biodiverse temperate forests on earth. Many species of animals, plants and fungi depend on the presence of oaks for food and habitat. Oaks still dominate the canopy, but there are not enough young oaks to sustain oak forests into the future.

To bring oaks back to the forests, leaders of the Ohio Interagency Forestry Team signed a cooperative business plan at The Ohio State University Farm Science Review on Sept. 19. The Plan will direct work over the next five years to collectively manage forests and sustain healthy, oak-dominated forests in Southeast Ohio.

The Ohio Interagency Forestry Team is made up of agencies with a forest management mission in Ohio, including the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Forest Service, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry, ODNR Division of Wildlife, Ohio State University Extension, and Central State University Extension.

Email newsletter signup

The Forestry Team is working to restore oak-dominated forests across a 17-county project area in southeastern Ohio. The project area contains 46 percent of Ohio’s forests, 17 out of 22 state forests, 34 state wildlife management areas and the only national forest, the Wayne National Forest.

Over the next five years, the Forestry Team will work together to create shared visions for forest landscapes across the region, increase awareness of the loss of oaks in Southeast Ohio forests and collectively manage oak-dominated forests across public lands and with private landowners.

For more information on the Forestry Team, contact Jarel Bartig, Ohio Interagency Forestry Team Liaison, at 740-753-0903 or

The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Its mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the country’s 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Its public lands contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year and provide 20 percent of the country’s clean water supply.

For more information, visit