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Forest Legacy

The Forest Legacy program protects “working forests” those that protect water quality, provide habitat, forest products, opportunities for recreation and other public benefits.

The Forest Legacy Program is a partnership between States and the USDA Forest Service, to identify and help conserve environmentally important forests from conversion to nonforest uses. Designed to encourage the protection of privately owned forest lands, the Forest Legacy Program is entirely voluntary. The main tool used for protecting these important forests is conservation easements.


Participation in Forest Legacy is limited to private forest landowners. To qualify, landowners are required to prepare a multiple resource management plan as part of the conservation easement acquisition. The Federal government may fund up to 75% of project costs, with at least 25% coming from private, State, or local sources. In addition to gains associated with the sale or donation of property rights, many landowners also benefit from reduced taxes associated with limits placed on land use.

View our featured Resources and Publications in the Greening your Community and Trees topic pages, or search our full Publications & Resources Library.

Learn more about the national Forest Legacy Program


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