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NCFS-Home >> Managing Your Forest >> NCFS & Military Partnership

North Carolina Forest Service
and Military Partnership

Ranger and FORCES landowner stand on tract of land

The N.C. Forest Service and our military partners have a long and mutually beneficial relationship. The agency’s goals of keeping working forests working and forest conservation closely align with efforts by the U.S. Department of Defense to maintain its training capacity. To reach those goals, both organizations must continue to reach out to private woodland owners and complement their efforts to achieve sustainable forest management objectives. Approximately 60 percent of North Carolina is considered woodland. That equates to 18.6 million acres of timberland, of which 11.3 million acres is owned by private individuals, families and non-corporate entities. The N.C. Forest Service also strategically utilizes state forestland in ways that support military readiness while providing good forest management. The national emphasis on forestry/military collaboration is one that is already well underway in North Carolina.

Forest Management & Technical Assistance

Camp Butner is the primary training area for the North Carolina Army National Guard. Since 1986, the N.C. Forest Service has provided forestry planning and assistance to this property. This has included guidance on harvesting and tree planting, as well as carrying out prescribed burning to improve stand conditions.

Prescribed Burn

The N.C. Forest Service also coordinates with Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg’s longleaf pine restoration and prescribed burning efforts to enhance red cockaded woodpecker (RCW) habitat. These military partners are critical to the stabilization of North Carolina’s RCW populations and the recent increases in longleaf pine establishment numbers.


Bladen Lakes State Forest, DuPont State Recreational Forest and Gill State Forest have been used for a variety of military training exercises by partners such as the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, N.C. National Guard and S.C. National Guard. The ability to safely train in these wooded regions allows our troops to stay sharp as well as ready for combat and service missions. The N.C. Forest Service has been able to successfully accommodate these training requests while limiting impacts to the many other users of state forests.

Emergency Response

The N.C. Forest Service provides emergency response for a wide variety of incidents, including wildfires, hurricanes, floods and ice storms. This often means working closely with military personnel. Management of hurricanes in North Carolina has traditionally been coordinated through a Unified Command approach involving N.C. Emergency Management, the N.C. National Guard and the N.C. Forest Service. Wildfires threatening military lands, such as 2011’s “SR8 Fire” on Camp Lejeune that burned over 9,500 acres, have also led to close working relationships.

Dare Bomb Range Management

Based on an agreement with the U.S. Air Force, the N.C. Forest Service provides fire control and emergency response needed for the bomb ranges and outlying areas that border them. Staff also carry out mowing, water control, and road maintenance as needed.

Focused Initiatives

The N.C. Forest Service collaborates with military partners throughout the year on a variety of “working land” initiatives. Examples include the Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability (SERPPAS); Sentinel Landscapes; and the N.C. Working Lands Group. This enables the partners to leverage each other’s strengths and accomplish more together.

North Carolina is one of two states nationally participating in Forest Opportunities for Resource Conservation and Environmental Security program (FORCES). As a contributor to the Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscapes Partnership (ENCSLP), the FORCES program recognizes and assists landowners who are making a committed investment in their working forests that benefit wildlife and forest health. The demonstrated commitment to keep working forest working helps prevent land use changes and supports sustainability of the military’s training mission. The core partnership in North Carolina involves the N.C. Forest Service, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, and various installations within the U.S. Department of Defense.

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