Forest Legacy Program
The Forest Legacy Program (FLP) is administered by the USDA Forestry Service to help protect and conserve working forests while maintaining private ownership of the land. It involves partnership of federal government, state government and private landowners.
The FLP allocates federal funding to purchase conservation easements on important private forestland. Conservation easements are 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 best management practices, and protect other conservation values.
Participation in FLP is voluntary and limited to private forest landowners. To qualify, landowners are required to prepare a stewardship plan as part of the conservation easement acquisition. The federal government may fund up to 75% of program costs, with at least 25% coming from private, state or local sources.
Forest Legacy in Pennsylvania
The FLP is administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Bureau of Forestry in cooperation with the state's Forest Stewardship Steering Committee, which is composed of private landowners, professional resource managers, and representatives from conservation organizations, higher education, industry, and government.
PA's Forest Legacy Goals:
- To maintain traditional forest uses, emphasizing commercial timber harvesting following best management practices and secondary recreational activities
- To maintain productivity of forests for future generations
- To reduce the trend toward forest parcelization
- To conserve significant tracts of contiguous forest
- To conserve water resources and riparian zones
- To conserve important habitats for plants, fish, and wildlife
- To restore degraded forest ecosystems
As a Forest Legacy sponsor in Bedford and Fulton Counties, WPC:
- Provides information, assistance, and outreach to landowners and other interested parties
- Assists potential FLP landowners through the conservation easement process
- Packages matching funds up to the required 25% non-federal share for easements
- Conducts public participation and prepares information for approval of FLA designation
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is the sponsor of the Forest Legacy Program in Bedford and Fulton Counties. This sponsorship is part of WPC's Forestland Conservation Program.