forestry programs

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture's Division of Resource Conservation and Forestry forestry programs are designed to provide direct technical assistance and advice to private landowners concerning their forests and other trees. The resource conservation program preserves resources, controls floods, prevents impairment of dams and reservoirs, assists in maintaining the navigability of rivers and harbors, creates and enhances wildlife habitat, protects the tax base, protects public lands and promotes the health, safety and general welfare of the people of this state.

Information Regarding South Dakota's Forests

Forest Health

Service Forestry

Established through the 1990 Farm Bill, the Forest Stewardship Program encouraged private forest landowners to manage their lands using professionally prepared forest stewardship plans. These plans consider and integrate forest resources, including timber, wildlife and fish, water, aesthetics, and all associated resources to meet landowner objectives. In South Dakota, since 1990, there have been 1,146 plans written covering 74,697 acres of forestland. In South Dakota, the Division of Resource Conservation and Forestry administers the program with the guidance provided by the State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee. The Forest Stewardship funding from the Forest Service is matched dollar for dollar with state general funds. Types of assistance include:

  • Preparing or approving forest stewardship plans for private landowners;

  • Agroforestry technical assistance to landowners desiring to plant or maintain trees and shrubs for conservation purposes, such as windbreaks and shelterbelts;

  • Non-commercial thinning technical assistance to landowners to improve forest health and vigor.

Types of assistance provided include:

  • Diagnostics and treatment recommendations for tree insect and disease problems. Service foresters will conduct a site visit on request to identify problems with tree health. Typical problems may be insects, diseases, environmental damage such as hail, planting problems, or other biotic or abiotic agents that harm trees. Recommendations for improving tree health are provided when needed.

  • Technical assistance about trees in rural, residential and community environments. The Division of Resource Conservation and Forestry provides a broad spectrum of tree related assistance.  Assistance is provided to people in rural areas that own our native forests and windbreaks, to homeowners who plant trees for landscaping residential lots, and to communities to help them plan for the care, management, and planting of trees along rights-of-way, in parks and other public areas.

More Information

For more information, please contact the South Dakota Department of Agriculture at 605.773.5425 or