Forest Legacy Program

Forest Legacy Program

Created by Congress in 1990, the U.S. Forest Service's Forest Legacy Program (FLP) supports states' efforts to protect environmentally sensitive, privately owned forestland from conversion to non-forest uses. The FLP protects “working forests” that provide several environmental services and public benefits. FLP tracts can be managed for sustainable timber production as well as water quality and watershed protection, maintenance of open space, scenic lands, wildlife habitat and opportunities for outdoor recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, and hiking.

Administered by the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Legacy projects are nominated through a two-step competitive process. Projects are first identified and ranked at the state level, then compete against one another nationally. This process consistently selects high-quality projects that are supported locally yet have national importance.

Participating states work with a variety of partners to accomplish the goals of the FLP. Conservation organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and The Trust for Public Land, as well as local non-profit land conservancies, help develop projects and leverage additional dollars to complement federal money. Partners also play crucial roles in the pre and post acquisition work. The program pays up to 75% of the project costs. States and local government receive funds and hold title to conservation easements or lands in fee simple, but  but land enrolled in the program must remain forested and requires a forest stewardship or multiple-use management plan.

Since its inception, the Forest Legacy Program has helped protect nearly 1.7 million acres in 48 states and territories. In 2008, Congress provided $52 million in funding to 35 projects around the country.

USFS Forest Legacy Program

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