New York SAF

The New York Society of American Foresters (NYSAF) was chartered in 1918, just 18 years after the founding of the forestry profession and our parent organization, the Society of American Foresters. The NYSAF is divided into five chapters: Western NY, Central NY, Iroquois, Adirondack, and Hudson Valley.

About Us

The New York Society of American Foresters (NYSAF) was chartered in 1918, just 18 years after the founding of the forestry profession and our parent organization, the Society of American Foresters. The NYSAF is divided into five chapters: Western NY, Central NY, Iroquois, Adirondack, and Hudson Valley.

More than 350 professionals are members of NYSAF. Professional members come from varied disciplines and all business sectors, including academia, industry, public agencies, NGOs, and private consulting firms. And, at any given time, nearly one-quarter of NYSAF's membership is comprised of students.

62 percent of New York State is forested. Forests are a critical part of New York State's past, present and future. Currently, the bulk of that forest land is owned by private landowners - about 700,000 in all.

Forests improve our quality of life. Besides being a source of abundant, high quality timber and home to diverse plant and wildlife populations, New York's forests buffer the headwaters of three major rivers in the East - the Susquehanna, Hudson and Delaware - and are the source of an unfiltered public water supply that feeds 10 million consumers in the New York City area. Within the Adirondack and Catskill State Parks, New York manages the largest public tracts of "Forever Wild" wilderness land in the U.S. Those and other forest lands across the state provide unmatched recreational opportunities to millions of people each year.

Wood from the forests of New York have helped build the nation and, in fact, is exported all over the world. New York ranks only second to Pennsylvania in hardwood lumber production and is growing three times more trees than are being harvested.

Forests in the Empire State have served as an outdoor classroom to thousands of forestry students over the last century. In fact, three of North America's oldest and most reputable forestry schools still thrive in New York: Cornell University, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (including the Ranger School), and Paul Smith's College.

With the many demands placed on New York's forests by residents and visitors alike, it is NYSAF's goal to ensure that future generations will benefit from the forests as much or more than the current generation.

History of NYSAF

A collection of articles, that originally appeared in issues of the New York Forester, were compiled by Hugh Canham during the time he served as Historian for NYSAF. They were developed to show members how the organization had changed over its 100-year life span, to show how events in and around New York State evolved to affect the forests of the State, and to entertain anyone inclined to read a short article. The link below is the document Hugh created that serves as the history of NYSAF.


All NYSAF members receive an electronic copy of The New York Forester each month as well as discounted pricing for the annual meeting and invitations to chapter events.

If you would like to join NYSAF you can do so by joining the Society of American Foresters (SAF) and then select the New York chapter.

Annual Meeting

Due to the current circmstances in NYS regarding Covid 19 and the Omicron variant, the 2022 NYSAF Annual Meeting has been cancelled.

If you have already registered, refunds will be issued by the end of January via the same payment method made.

Below are images from the 2020 Annual Meeting all courtesy of Cameron Aloi, Dead End Digital Photography.

Maureen Leddy, Director, Office of Climate Change, NYSDEC, John Bartow, Executive Director, Empire State Forest Products Association and Robert Malmsheimer, SUNY ESF Professor provide a primer on New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

The afternoon panel of (left to right) Rob Davies, State Forester, NYSDEC, Jared Snyder, Deputy Commissioner for Air Resources, Climate Change and Energy, NYSDEC, and John Williams, Vice President, Policy and Regulatory Affairs, NYSERDA, discussed the potential impacts on CLCPA on NY's Forests and Forest Owners.

Bruce Williamson making a comment during one of the sessions.

Pat Ginther of Voice Directed Tally Systems, Inc., was one of the many exhibitors at the meeting.

Rob Townsley of Colligan Law LLP. Colligan Law was both an exhibitor and sponsor of the 2020 Annual Meeting.

One of the many items that were part of the Foresters Fund Silent Auction.

One of the SUNY ESF Graduate Student Poster Presenters.

One of the SUNY ESF Graduate Student Poster Presenters.

One of the SUNY ESF Graduate Student Poster Presenters.

Friday afternoon's Forestry Professionals Q&A Session was well attended by numerous students.

John Gibbs answers student questions during the Forestry Professionals Q&A Session.

Two NYS Forest Rangers kindly donated their time to conduct one of the many student "mock interviews."

Bob O'Brien of Cotton Hanlon, provides feedback during one of the student "mock interviews."

2019 NYSAF Annual Award Recipients: Pictured (left to right): Dr. Michael Bridgen, Christopher B. Tcimpidis, Michael Walsh, and Christi L. Barber


Each year at the NYSAF Annual Meeting, several awards are presented to individuals and groups that make significant contributions to forestry in New York State and the Society as a whole.

A listing of the various awards along with their recipients can be found below

This distinguished recognition is considered by many SAF members as the highest honor that our professional organization may bestow upon our members.

Grants & Funds

NYSAF offers Development Fund Grants. The purpose of these grants are to promote education, conduct forest policy activities, and strengthen NYSAF and associated chapters in achieving the mission of the Society.

There are also two funds that NYSAF supports:
The Jude Zicot Memorial FundSAF Bauer/Sand Scholarship Fund


New York Society of American Foresters (NYSAF) is actively engaged in advocating for sound public policy at the federal, state and community levels on issues that affect the future health and productivity of forests and the benefits that forests provide. NYSAF members regularly provide sound advice, guidance and science-based information to legislators and policy makers at all levels of government.

NYSAF's Policy Committee meets regularly to consider and discuss issues pertinent to our profession.

As a state chapter, our positions reflect a common perspective shared by our members and focus on timely, critical issues affecting the forests of New York. Broader perspectives on forests and the national policy arena are addressed and coordinated by staff at the national SAF office in Bethesda, Maryland. NYSAF members regularly participate in policy forums and town meetings and welcome the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience in public settings.

If you have questions about these positions, or would like to propose a new position statement, please contact the Chair of the NYSAF Legislation and Policy Committee, or any Executive Committee member.

Below are policy position statements on three of the four components of the Governor's Empire Forests for the Future Initiative (EFFI). NYSAF supports passage of the 480b, Forest Landowner Incentives, and the proposed enhancements to the Right to Practice Forestry components of EFFI. A fourth statement on Harvest Notification did not garner a consensus of the Executive Committee so it is not an approved position statement of NYSAF.

NYSAF 480-a Survey Results

Thank you to all who participated in the NYSAF member survey regarding the proposed changes to the 480-a/Forest Tax Law regulations. All information received was forwarded to the NYSDEC for their use in developing and fine tuning the proposed regulation changes. The survey results are summarized below.

To contact the Outreach/Policy Committee:

Find a Forester

Looking to care for trees in a park or urban setting, tend to a Christmas tree farm, grow or sell timber, or manage an entire forest for multiple benefits? A forester can help. Foresters are formally-educated, specially-skilled professionals who can apply their knowledge and experience to help you achieve your objectives. At the same time, foresters work to safeguard the beauty, utility and sustainability of forests for future generations.

A forester can provide specialized knowledge and guidance pertaining to the management of trees and forests. Hundreds of foresters work across the Empire State in both the public and private sectors. However, foresters are as diverse in their specialized knowledge and experienced as the forest resource itself. Moreover, some people who call themselves "foresters" have no specialized training or experience at all: New York State has no legal standards (e.g. licensure) governing foresters, so anybody can call themselves one.

So how do you find the right (i.e., qualified) person for the job? Try one or all of the following:
First, get references from friends or neighbors who have used the services of a forester.Second, seek out a Certified Forester. Certified Foresters have earned a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in forestry or a related field plus five years of experience. Through participation in continuing education programs, they earn the right to use the Certified Forester (CF) credential administered by SAF.
Learn more and find a list of Certified Foresters in New York by visiting the SAF Certified Forester Program.

You may also choose to look for a Forester who is enrolled in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Cooperating Forester Program. These Foresters have earned at least a Bachelor's degree in forestry or a related field and have agreed to cooperate with the state to provide forest management assistance beyond the bounds of what public foresters are permitted to do on private lands.

Chapter Events

The five chapters of NYSAF periodically hold chapter events. When events are scheduled, the will be listed below:

Other Events

NYSAF Annual Meeting
January 26-28, 2022
Syracuse Double Tree Hotel

Contact Us

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