Forestry department hires longleaf pine, pine beetle program coordinator

Published 6:03 pm Tuesday, June 28, 2016

James “Jim” Schroering is the Virginia Department of Forestry’s new Longleaf Pine and Southern Pine Beetle Prevention coordinator. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in forestry from Purdue University, and has extensive experience with pine management and public outreach through his work with forest products companies, Virginia Cooperative Extension and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Schroering will work closely with VDOF foresters, Virginia’s forest landowners and a number of cooperators (The Nature Conservancy, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Natural Heritage program, Meadowview Biological Research Station and the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries) to promote longleaf planting, prescribed burning and good pine management practices.

The longleaf pine ecosystem is highly diverse and valuable, and it has all but been eliminated from its native range in southeastern Virginia, where it once occupied more than 1 million acres. Today, only about 200 native longleaf pines remain in Virginia — the northern most range of the longleaf pine, which extends from southeastern Virginia to Texas. Longleaf pine is highly resistant to insect pests, such as the southern pine beetle, and is tolerant of salt-spray, wildfire and ice. The VDOF is working diligently to restore longleaf pine to our ecosystem and is also ensuring that all pines are healthy and remain a sustainable resource.

“Jim’s knowledge and skill set will help us ensure that we achieve our strategic goals,” said Bettina Ring, State Forester of Virginia. “By helping us get more longleaf pine planted and cared for and protecting the existing pine resource from Southern Pine Beetle, we’ll have a healthier and more diverse pine resource that will benefit all Virginians.”

The new position is being supported through grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service and the Longleaf Stewardship Fund (a partnership of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Altria and the U.S. Forest Service).

Jim began his new position today, and he will work out of the VDOF office in Waverly.

The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians. Headquartered in Charlottesville, the agency has forestry staff members assigned to every county to provide citizen service and public safety protection across the Commonwealth, which it’s been doing now for more than 100 years. VDOF is an equal opportunity provider.

With nearly 16 million acres of forestland and more than 103,000 Virginians employed in forestry, forest products and related industries, Virginia forests provide an overall economic output of more than $17 billion annually.