For more information, contact: Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Wallace State Office Building, Des Moines 50319; 515/281-8733;

Iowa has about 2 million acres of forested land, classed as commercial - available for growing forest products. The Division of Forestry, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, administers a variety of programs to maintain and improve Iowa's forest heritage.

State Forests

Iowa's state forest system consists of the Loess Hills State Forest, 9000 acres in centralwestern Iowa; Shimek State Forest, 9000 acres in southeast Iowa; Stephens State Forest, 13,000 acres in southcentral Iowa and Yellow River State Forest, 8,500 acres in northeast Iowa. Six smaller areas; Gifford, Pilot Mound, Holst, Berkley, White Pine Hollow and Backbone State Forests range in size from 34 to 314 acres.

Iowa's state forest system is managed for a range of natural resources like wildlife, wood products, clean water and scenic beauty. The forests are important recreation destinations, especially for dispersed recreation like hunting, hiking and horse riding.

State Forest Nursery

Iowa's Forestry program features a seedling growing facility that produces about 3 million seedlings each year for reforestation and wildlife plantings. Seedlings are available for planting on state lands and for sale to private individuals who are establishing tree plantings and wildlife habitat. Production focuses on native Iowa hardwoods using local seed sources. Conifers and a variety of shrubs for wildlife are also available.

Utilization and Marketing

The Utilization and Marketing program helps the timber industry do a more efficient job of processing raw timber into useful products. It also helps locate and expand markets for Iowa's forest products. The programs help conserve forest resources through better utilization and promotes a diverse, healthy economy for all of Iowa.


The Protection program guards the forest resource against destructive agents through a variety of activities such as education, grants for community fire programs, making surplus military equipment available to fire departments and insect and disease identification and control.


Twelve district foresters provide service to landowners and others interested in the forest resource. Foresters are available for onsite advice in timber management, including assistance with tree planting, forest improvement, timber harvesting and development of management plans. Much of their work is educating the public on the value of Iowa's forest resource. District foresters assist approximately 1,500 landowners each year and write 900 management plans covering 28,000 acres.

Trees for Kids and Teens

Trees for Kids and Trees for Teens are tree education and planting programs for elementary and secondary students in Iowa. Goals of the program are to educate students about the value of trees and to encourage planting of landscapesize trees on school grounds and other public areas. In 1998, Trees for Kids worked with 7,035 teachers and over 385,000 students in tree education. This resulted in over 61,000 trees planted.