State and Private Forestry

Forest Stewardship Program

The Forest Stewardship Program provides technical assistance to nonindustrial private forest landowners to enhance and sustain the long term productivity of forest resources and produce healthy, resilient forest landscapes. In the US Caribbean Region, the program runs through our local government partners: Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture [External Site: Opens in New Window] and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. [External Site: Opens in New Window]

Through our partners, the Forest Stewardship Program offers non-industrial private forest landowners technical assistance to protect and improve the forest and natural resources within their private land, in the form of: technical guidance (1.9 MB - PDF) [Opens in New Window], education programs, and forest management plans (5.2 MB - PDF). [Opens in New Window]

The 2008 Farm Bill explicitly expands eligibility for many USDA conservation programs to include nonindustrial private forest landowners. This means that forest landowners can participate in various technical and financial assistance programs available from different federal government agencies, such as the assistance programs offered by NRCS. [External Site: Opens in New Window]

LANDOWNERS, please keep in mind that all USDA financial assistance programs require landowners to register with Farm Service Agency (FSA Puerto Rico [External Site: Opens in New Window], FSA Virgin Islands [External Site: Opens in New Window]) and obtain a DUNS number. [External Site: Opens in New Window]

National Program Objectives:

  • Reduce wildfire risk to communities (fuels reduction, prescribed fire).
  • Protect water resources (water quality, watershed management).
  • Support jobs (rural prosperity).
  • Enhance wildlife habitat.

Program Requirements

  • Participation in the Forest Stewardship Program is voluntary.
  • The applicant must be an individual or private entity that owns or has a long-term lease of a non-industrial forest or land suitable for planting trees.
  • Forested land must have a minimum size of 3 acres to participate in the program.
  • The actions and practices recommended by the Managemment Plan (5.2 MB - PDF) [Opens in New Window] should be followed for a minimum of 10 years in order to maximize benefits from the management practices to your forest and natural resources.
Forest Stewardship team in Lares, Puerto Rico, meeting with landowners

Image CaptionForest Stewardship team and collaborators meeting with landowners in Lares, Puerto Rico. October 2019.

Contact Information

For more information about the Forest Stewardship Program please contact:

U.S. Caribbean Region Forest Stewardship Federal Program Manager: Maya Quiñones

Puerto Rico Forest Stewardship Coordinator: Enrique Santiago

U.S. Virgin Islands Forest Stewardship Coordinator: Eugenia Merkoulov

Page last modified: 12/30/2020