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Washington, D.C. 20078-5500

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 USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Forest Stewardship Program

Helping Private Forest Landowners Develop Plans
for the Sustainable Management of their Forest


Program Purpose

The Forest Stewardship Program encourages long-term stewardship of important State and private forest landscapes, by assisting landowners to more actively manage their forest and related resources. The Program provides assistance to owners of forest land and other lands where good stewardship, including agroforestry applications, will enhance and sustain the long term productivity of multiple forest resources and produce healthy, resilient forest landscapes. Special attention is given to landowners in landscape areas identified by State Forest Action Plans and those new to, or in the early stages of managing their land in a way that embodies multi-resource stewardship principles. The program provides landowners with professional planning and technical assistance they need to keep their land in a productive and healthy condition.  Assistance offered through the Forest Stewardship Program also provides landowners with enhanced access to other USDA conservation programs, forest certification programs, and forest product and ecosystem service markets. 

For more details on how the Forest Stewardship Program operates, see the National Standards and Guidelines.

FSP Strategic Plan

The Forest Stewardship Plan Resource Elements Guidance is a resource for plan preparers who are working to fully meet multi-resource management objectives of their landowner clients.

Landscape Stewardship Guide (NA)

Guiding Principles for Delivery of Coordinated Planning Assistance to Private Forest Landowners

"A new Appendix to the national standards and guidelines provides additional guidance for foresters preparing plans to expedite and facilitate participation in USDA cost-share programs when requested by the forest landowner."

Forest Stewardship Management Plans

As of 2013 the Stewardship Mapping and Reporting Tool (SMART) has over 91,000 approved plans covering approximately 24 million acres of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) land. Forest Stewardship plans lay out strategies for achieving unique landowner objectives and sustaining forest health and vigor. Actively managed forests provide timber, wildlife habitat, watershed protection, recreational opportunities and many other benefits for landowners and society. Forest Stewardship plans motivate landowners to become more active in planning and managing their forests, greatly increasing the likelihood that their forests will remain intact, productive and healthy, and that the social, economic and environmental benefits of these lands will be sustained for future generations. For guidelines relating to Forest Stewardship plan development, see Caring for your Forest with a Forest Stewardship Plan and Planning for Forest Stewardship: A Desk Guide.

The Spatial Analysis Project (SAP) is a GIS-based strategic management tool that allows participating State forestry agencies to identify and spatially display important forest lands (rich in natural resources, vulnerable to threat), tracts currently under Forest Stewardship Plans, and areas of opportunity to focus future Forest Stewardship Program efforts.

Landowner Participation

Participation in the Forest Stewardship program is open to any non-industrial private forest landowners who are committed to the active management and stewardship of their forested properties for at least ten years. The FSP is not a cost share program. Cost-share assistance for plan implementation may be available through other programs such as the Forest Land Enhancement Program. To find out how you can participate in the Forest Stewardship Program offered by your State, please contact your State Forester's office. For a list of State Foresters, click here.

Rural Forestry Assistance

The Forest Stewardship Program also assists State forestry agencies with a variety of programs to further support NIPF owner planning and management efforts including tree improvement and seedling production, and landowner education programs. The Rural Forestry Assistance component of the Forest Stewardship Program also provides for tree planting and timber stand improvement projects on non-federal forest land the development of discrete, resource targeted management prescriptions or practice plans for landowners.

For more information on how this program is managed nationally, contact Laurie Schoonhoven, Program Manager at





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 Last Modified: Thursday, Jun 02, 2016 at 09:43 AM CDT