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How the Forest Legacy Program Works

A mountain, stream, and forest landscape.

Conserving Forests through Partnership

A photo of log timber products

Timber products from well managed private forests feed local mills. Photo by Josh Birnbaum/NASF.

The purpose of the Forest Legacy Program is to identify and conserve environmentally important forest areas that are threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. Providing economic incentives to landowners to keep their forest as forests encourages sustainable forest management and supports strong markets for forest products.

Landowners may participate in the Forest Legacy Program by either selling their property outright or by retaining ownership and selling only a portion of the property’s development rights; both are held by state agencies or another unit of government. The use of a conservation easement, a legal agreement between a landowner and a non-profit land trust or governmental agency, allows the land to remain in private ownership while ensuring that its environmental values are retained.

The program is funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which invests a small percentage of federal offshore drilling fees toward the conservation of important land, water, and recreation areas for all Americans.

A photo of a stream waterfall

Lakes, streams, and ponds conserved through the Forest Legacy Program filter and protect drinking water for communities. Photo by Steve Neel.

Funding and Accomplishments

Program Guidelines and Performance

Resources for Practitioners

News Room


Forest Legacy Program Accomplishment Map

National Contact

Scott Stewart
Forest Legacy Program Manager
(202) 205-1618

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