The New Jersey Forest Service (NJFS) has been overseeing the Big Tree Conservation Program and keeping a record of the largest trees in the state since the 1930s. As part of the program, the Forest Service maintains the Official NJ Big Tree Registry, a compilation of the largest native and naturalized tree species in the state. These trees have been nominated by NJ residents and have environmental and historical value and should be conserved for future generations.
New Jersey takes pride in its big trees and for good reason. These mammoth trees are not just tree resources; they are mega tree resources providing up to 600 times the environmental benefits of typical trees. Benefits of big trees include the following:
Remove tons of pollution from our air annually
Trees combat climate change by removing CO2
Lower electric costs up to 50% via shading
Reduce the heat/island effect
Prevent water runoff, erosion, and water pollution
Roots filter ground water by absorbing nutrients and toxins
Provide wildlife habitat
Showcase historic events
Provide wood and high-quality forest products
Big Trees unify communities and organizations
Can increase property values by as much as 15%
Slow water evaporation via shade saving water
Create visually pleasing barriers
Natural sound barriers
Increase traffic to businesses
Some of New Jersey’s big trees also have historic value, and have been around for hundreds of years, witnessing many state and local historical events. These trees are called Heritage Trees or Witness Trees. These older trees are scattered throughout the state are an important part of New Jersey’s natural heritage and occupy all of the unique geographic regions found in the state. We as humans can use these trees to tell stories of the past or preserve the memories we are making today for our children.
The benefits of conserving these trees are countless. That is why the New Jersey Forest Service changed the name of the program from The Champion Tree Program to the Big Tree Conservation Program in 2019. The New Jersey Forest Service takes great pride in educating the public on the proper conservation and maintenance of big and heritage trees to help ensure that they will survive for many years to come.
If you know of a big tree that you want to nominate or have a possible challenger to the current champion, please send your nomination to:
Happy Big Tree Hunting!
Joseph C. Bennett
Big and Heritage Tree Coordinator
Division of Parks and Forestry
Community Forestry Program
501 East State Street
Mail Code 501-4
PO Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625
Fax # 609-984-0378