Don Donnelly to speak to members of NJ Senate Environment and Energy Committee

Don Donnelly to speak to members of NJ Senate Environment and Energy Committee


Don Donnelly, Stewardship Project Director and Forester at NJ Audubon and technical expert on forest management practices, is scheduled to provide expert testimony to members of the NJ State Senate Environment and Energy Committee on forest management in the state on April 21.

The invitation from committee chair, Senator Bob Smith, requests technical information on the value of forest management plans on publicly-owned lands in the state.  Information from hearing experts will inform members about science-based practices and sound policies to protect NJ’s valuable resources, forests.

The USDA Forest Service first began encouraging landowners across the country to develop Forest Stewardship Plans for their woodlands in the early 1990s under the emerging USDA Forest Stewardship Program. Over time, the USDA Forest Stewardship Program has evolved, and today it is administered individually by each state’s Forest Service. While each state still follows the guidelines set forth in the federal program, they have tailored specific requirements to meet local needs.

According to Donnelly, “forest Stewardship in NJ is unique because we have a legal framework for the program with standards that are even higher than the national forest stewardship program, and this requires landowners who are involved in the program to be heavily invested in the health and long-term sustainability of their forestland more so than elsewhere in the country.

Donnelly holds a BS in Natural Resource Management from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and has worked at NJ Audubon on various forestry projects for ten years.  He is considered one of the state’s leading experts on forest management practices, overseeing numerous forest stewardship projects throughout the state.

Don has worked in collaboration with foresters and ecologists from the USDA Forest Service and other federal agencies, the NJ Forest Service and with countless private land owners seeking to steward their properties to enhance forest health.

The Senate hearing is scheduled for 10 AM on Wednesday, April 21.


The Senate Environment and Energy Committee will meet remotely at 10 a.m.
For Discussion Only:

  • S2001 (Smith / Bateman) – Establishes forest stewardship program for State-owned lands.
  • S3547 (Smith) – Establishes working group to evaluate coordination and cooperation between various government entities and private landowners with respect to forest stewardship in pinelands area.
  • S3548 (Smith) – Sets minimum acreage goal and schedule for prescribed burns in pinelands area and Statewide.
  • S3549 (Smith) – Requires forest stewardship plan for certain lands acquired for recreation and conservation purposes.
  • S3550 (Smith) – Provides that municipal approval is not required for forest stewardship plans.

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For more information on NJ Audubon’s Stewardship please go to their webpage HERE