The Forest Legacy Program is a federal program that works in partnership with states, supporting efforts to protect environmentally sensitive forests from conversion to non-forest uses.
The program is designed to identify and protect environmentally important forests through the use of perpetual conservation easements purchased at market value between willing sellers and willing buyers. 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.
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.
The program is available only in areas identified as Forest Legacy Areas in Maryland’s Forest Legacy Program Assessment of Need. 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.
Only private forest within a Forest Legacy Area is eligible for the program. At least 75% of the area put under easement must be forested. The remaining 25% must be in a compatible land use such as agriculture.
Landowners who are willing to sell their development rights are encouraged to apply. All applications will be evaluated and ranked on an annual basis, and the highest ranked applications will be entered into the national ranking process for funding.
Projects are ranked on the basis of forest importance, threat of development, and strategic value to other protected lands or conservation initiatives.
Funded projects will enter the negotiation and acquisition phase.
If negotiations produce acceptable easement terms, the easement will be purchased. If the project does not receive federal funding or negotiations do not produce acceptable terms, landowners may apply again in future years. The number of parcels accepted for acquisition will depend on the funding available and the estimated value of the parcels selected.
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.
580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis MD 21401
Call toll-free in *Maryland* at 1-877-620-8DNR (8367)
Out of State: 410-260-8DNR (8367)