New Jersey’s Forest Action Plan specifies challenges and issues such as biodiversity, forest composition, forest health, development, and carbon sequestration in New Jersey’s urban, exurban, and rural forests. With a background on existing conditions we can make informed management decisions to enhance, maintain, and expand forest resources and the benefits they provide today and for future generations.
New Jersey maintains a diversity of plant and animal species by working to ensure habitat for native species and discourage invasive species. Atlantic white-cedar stands, which are currently being restored in New Jersey, are of particular importance to biodiversity because they provide benefits to a wide range of plant and animal species, including several threatened and endangered species. New Jersey recorded 821 rare or endangered plants plus 30 threatened and 37 endangered wildlife species. We work to provide habitat for the rare, endangered, and threatened species as well as common species before their populations decline.
Although forests are the greatest land use in New Jersey, every county in the state is declared “urban.” As developed areas encroach on forested areas, we see an increase in land conversion, fragmentation, and parcelization. Development may degrade water, reduce wildlife habitat, increase disturbance, and even encourage invasive plants. Development also impacts the habitat of threatened and endangered plant and animal species. We protect our forest land from conversion to urban development to maintain the sustainability of our forest resource.
New Jersey is currently managing lands for gypsy moth, bacterial leaf scorch, gouty oak gall, Asian longhorned beetle, southern pine beetle, and hemlock woolly adelgid as well as invasive plant species. Although not yet found in the state, we also monitor for sudden oak death, sirex woodwasp, and emerald ash borer. By tracking these conditions, we can more accurately predict and plan for future outbreaks.