Forest Legacy

Forest Legacy - Deer LooksPurpose:

The Forest Legacy Program is a Federal program that works in partnership with States, supporting efforts to protect environmentally sensitive forest from conversion to non-forest uses


The program is designed to identify and protect environmentally important forests through the use of perpetual conservation easements or fee simple purchases at market value between willing sellers and willing buyers.

  • Forest Legacy - Man and the kid A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and an eligible organization that restricts future activities on the land to protect its conservation values.

  • A Fee Simple Purchase transfers full ownership, including the underlying title from one party to another.

Up to 75% of the funding can be supplied by the Federal Government; at least 25% of funding will come from, State, Local, NGO funds or can be donated by the landowner.

At least 75% of the area put under easement/purchased must be forested. The remaining 25% needs to be in a compatible land use such as agriculture.


The program is available only in areas identified in Maryland’s Forest Legacy Program Assessment of Need, Forest Legacy Areas. Please refer to Figure 1. to see Maryland’s Forest Legacy Areas.

Maryland Forest Legacy Areas Map

Forest Legacy Areas are geographically defined areas that were determined to have some of the highest economic and environmental values to benefit Maryland’s wildlife, wood products industry, water quality, and residents.

How Does Forest Legacy Work?

Forest Legacy - Fishman Only private forest in a Forest Legacy Area is eligible for the program. Landowners who are willing to sell their forest or development rights are encouraged to apply during a sign-up period. At the end of a sign-up period, all applications will be evaluated and ranked. The highest ranked applications will enter the acquisition process. If negotiations produce acceptable easement or sales terms, the property will be ranked on a National scale and possibly be purchased. If negotiations or the National ranking do not produce acceptable terms, applying again in future years is a possibility. The number of parcels accepted for acquisition will depend on the funding available and the estimated value of the parcels selected.

The Forest Legacy Program is a willing seller, willing buyer program.

Accomplishments: Nine easements totaling 2,014 acres in Maryland.

Landowner Application:

USDA Forest Service Forest Legacy Page:

Contact Person:

Colleen Kenny
Forest Health Watershed Planner
Maryland Forest Service
580 Taylor Avenue E-1
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity employer.