Extension Forestry in the United States: a national review of state-level programs.
Landowner education is the foundation of a broad suite of public investments designed to encourage sustainable forest management. Extension Forestry programs are the primary providers of landowner education in the United States. We report the results of a census of the 50 state-level Extension Forestry Program Leaders on status, trends, and innovations in their programs. These programs employ 249 full time equivalent (FTE) state specialists, educators, and support staff. Reported cuts in base funding from public sources have led to reduced FTE capacity as vacated positions remain unfilled. A majority of state-level programs report increased use of digital communication tools compared to 5 years ago. Over half have increased instruction on forest health and invasive species, intergenerational land transfer, and the effects of climate change on forests. These trends and innovations create both challenges and opportunities for efforts to encourage sustainable forest management on private lands.