Forest Legacy Program
Protect privately-owned forestlands
Development of the nation’s forested areas poses an increasing threat to maintaining the integrity of our country’s valuable forest lands. Intact forest lands supply timber products, wildlife habitat, soil and watershed protection, aesthetics, and recreational opportunities. However, as these areas are fragmented and disappear, so do the benefits they provide. While local governments commonly guide development away from the most sensitive areas through traditional land use controls (like zoning and performance standards), sometimes these measures are not sufficient to fully protect the forested component of our natural resource base.
The Forest Legacy Program (FLP), a United States Department of Agriculture – Forest Service (USDA-FS) program in partnership with States, supports State efforts to protect environmentally sensitive forest lands. Designed to encourage the protection of privately owned forest lands, FLP is an entirely voluntary program. To maximize the public benefits it achieves, the program focuses on the acquisition of partial interests in privately owned forest lands. FLP helps the States develop and carry out their forest conservation plans. It encourages and supports the acquisition of conservation easements, legally binding agreements transferring a negotiated set of property rights from one party to another without removing the property from private ownership. Most FLP conservation easements restrict development, require sustainable forestry practices, and protect other values.