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Private Land

Recognizing the presence of emerging forest health threats and risk of severe wildfire in the Columbia River Gorge’s Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), the Forest Service, Washington and Oregon are working together through a multi-state partnership to build community capacity to respond to the shared emerging threats through training, outreach, and strategic on-the-ground treatments.

Photo credit: Chuck Hersey, Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

Chart depicting Family Forests verses other types of woodland ownership.
There are an estimated 10.6 million family forest and woodland ownerships. They control more than any other group. Family Forests, 38%. Corporate, 20%. Federal Government, 31%. State, 9%. Local, 2%.

Did you know that more than half the forest land in the United States is owned and managed by some 10.6 million private forest owners? These working forests benefit us all. Private forest lands:

  • Supply nearly 30 percent of the water we drink as well as clean air, fish and wildlife habitat, and significant recreation opportunities.  
  • Provide over 90 percent of our domestically-produced forest products, including the timber needed to build homes and fuel wood for heating them.
  • Support 2.4 million jobs primarily in rural communities, and
  • Contribute to our nation’s energy security, housing, and infrastructure.

These forests face many threats, including wildland fire, invasive species, pests and disease, and the permanent loss of working forest land to non-forest uses. The Forest Service helps ensure that forest landowners have the best technical, educational, and financial assistance available to achieve their unique objectives and to keep forests working for all of us. We do this through a variety of Cooperative Forestry programs and tools:

  • Community Forest and Open Space Conservation assists Tribes, local governments, and nonprofits to acquire and establish community forests for recreation, clean water, wildlife habitat, education, and other community benefits.
  • Forest Health Protection provides technical and financial assistance on forest health-related matters.
  • Forest Legacy permanently conserves environmentally significant forest land threatened by conversion.
  • Forest Stewardship provides technical assistance to private landowners to encourage long term forest management.
  • Inflation Reduction Act Forest Landowner Support programming provides financial assistance grants for projects that support underserved and small-acreage forest landowner participation in emerging private markets for climate mitigation and forest resilience.
  • Landscape Scale Restoration funds collaborative restoration of forest landscapes through competitive cross boundary projects.
  • National Agroforestry Center accelerates the adoption of agroforestry across the country.
  • Urban and Community Forestry helps localities manage urban natural resources for public benefit.
  • Wood Innovations expands and creates markets for wood products and wood energy that support sustainable management of the nation’s forests.