New Jersey’s No Net Loss Reforestation Act
New Jersey state entities are required to replant trees when trees are removed during development projects involving one-half acre or more.
What forested lands are affected by this State law?
This law covers forests:
- Where one-half acre or more of forested land is affected
- Owned or maintained by a State entity (no counties or municipalities)
What is the process for No Net Loss reforestation?
The state entity contacts the Division of Parks and Forestry in the NJ Department of Environmental Protection to schedule a site visit. If the project site meets the applicability of the No Net Loss Reforestation Act, then the State entity submits a reforestation plan to the Division. The New Jersey Community Forestry Council assists in review and comments on State entity reforestation plans before the Division approves it.
What is in a reforestation plan?
The approved plans will all have appropriate
- Tree species and size
- Quantity of trees
- Methods of planting
- Management of the trees
- Color photos
- Scaled landscape drawings
Where will all of the required replacement trees be planted?
Trees shall be replanted on the closest planting site in this order:
- On the project site
- Adjacent to the construction site
- State or municipal property within the municipality
- Sites maintained by the State, county, or other municipalities within 5 miles
- Anywhere in New Jersey on State-owned land
When can a State entity deforest land without an approved compensatory reforestation plan?
With review from DEP foresters the following practices are not applicable to the No Net Loss Reforestation Act: standard forestry practices necessary for forest management or research, response to natural disasters, standard wildlife management, actively managed existing utility easements
What if the State entity cannot plant trees or can only plant some trees?
If the State entity doing the construction project cannot do the tree planting back on-site, they can pay the Division of Parks and Forestry to administer off-site compensatory tree plantings for reforestation. This payment would fulfill the State entity’s reforestation requirements.
Does the public get a chance to comment on the reforestation plans?
Yes, the No Net Loss Reforestation Act requires the State entity to hold a public forum to gather comments from the public about the proposed deforestation and the plan to compensate for it. The State entity must also provide written responses to those comments.