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The Central Pine Barrens contains significant natural resources, including globally rare ecological communities and endangered and threatened species of plants and animals, some of which, in New York State, are found only in the Central Pine Barrens.  Ensuring and maintaining the health of its ecological communities is vital because these areas provide crucial habitat for the wildlife and plants that live there, help purify and supply clean drinking water and air for residents, absorb flood waters, furnish open space and aid in the reduction of greenhouse gases. Other benefits of these natural areas include the recreational opportunities and scenic beauty they provide for all to enjoy. 

Preserving these natural resource services is accomplished through the Commission mission to Greymorph Screech Owlprotect, restore and enhance natural, historic, cultural, water, and scenic resources within the Pine Barrens region, while improving public access and promoting scientific research. Stewardship initiatives play a major role in the Commission’s work, which is accomplished through cooperative partnerships with public landowners within the multi-jurisdictional Central Pine Barrens area. The Commission itself does not own land, and therefore these cooperative partnerships with public landowners are important to ensure the Commission is able to accomplish its stewardship mission.                          (Photo: Screech Owl by L. Ormand)

Stewardship initiatives in which the Commission proactively participates include:

  •  Ecological research, monitoring, protection and restoration;
  •  Cultural, historic, and scenic resource protection and restoration;
  •  Water quality protection
  •  Land use management and land protection;
  •  Fire management planning and implementation;
  •  Natural resource protection and management;
  •  Open space management;
  •  Public use and recreational resource planning and management.

The Commission has dedicated staff in its Science and Stewardship division who initiate partnerships and help coordinate and implement regional stewardship initiatives, in cooperation with public land managers, including:

  • The management of threats to the Central Pine Barrens such as invasive species, illegal dumping  and All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) use,
  • Forest health monitoring and protection,
  • Ecological restoration, and
  • The development of recreational opportunities for the public.

The Commission’s Stewardship division staff prepares work plans that focus the science and stewardship work the Commission undertakes each year and coordinates field management work with the Protected Lands Council; private, not-for-profit user groups and individual public land management agencies for projects such as insect infestation response, native species revegetation, Pine Barrens clean up events, trail development and invasive species removal projects. Division staff is also involved with seed collection projects to foster the growth of Long Island genotype plants for use in forest and other ecological community restoration projects on lands where natural regeneration is not a viable option.

Division staff also works with local, county, state and federal agencies; colleges and universities and schools to promote research initiatives in the Central Pine Barrens.  The Commission works in partnership with other agencies to provide research forums or conferences where the latest scientific research and studies are presented and shared with an audience of fellow researchers, public agencies, universities, not-for-profit organizations and the public. In addition, division staff plans and conducts training and workshops on specific topics such as wetlands identification, invasive species management and the management of insect infestations.

The division also provides:

  • Support to the Protected Lands Council and its stewardship initiatives;
  • Support to the Law Enforcement Council and other Commission committees;
  • Cartographic and data information and analysis services for the Commission;
  • Support to the other Commission divisions on stewardship matters related to development projects, agency land management plans and land use incident investigations and enforcement actions.

To learn more about the stewardship work the Commission is involved in visit our online document library and select the category "stewardship".

To answer any questions you may have or for further information contact or call 631-288-1079