Department of Environmental Conservation

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Forest Health Aerial Survey Program

The state of New York is approximately 30 million acres in area, with 18.9 million acres of that area designated as forest. With such a large area for possible threats by insects, diseases, human activities and weather events, a comprehensive and expedient aerial survey plan was created to monitor for such damages.

large areas of defoliated deciduous forest in summer
Defoliated deciduous trees in summer

Each June the Department of Environmental Conservation teams up with the New York State Police Aviation Unit to conduct a two-month aerial survey of the state's forests. The survey begins in the southern Hudson Valley near Newburgh and ends in the St. Lawrence Lowlands near Plattsburgh. The aerial survey for 2013 accounted for approximately 15 million acres of New York's total area. Sensitive and restricted airspaces, as well as small areas between parallel flight lines (caused by visibility constraints) were not surveyed and account for the remaining area of the state.

The objective of the survey is to collect general information about forest health conditions for dissemination to state regional office foresters and private forest owners, annually. The data is used for forest management and monitoring at the state level, as well as the systemic tracking of possible causal agents, which threaten our forests on a national level.

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  • Division of Lands and Forests
    Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health
    625 Broadway, 5th FL
    Albany, NY 12233-4253
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