MANAGE FORESTS AND LAND

  • FOREST LEGACY

    The Forest Legacy Program is a voluntary cooperative effort between the U.S. Forest Service and the State of Texas that protects ecologically important forests threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. The program encourages the voluntary protection of privately owned forestland primarily through the acquisition of conservation easements. These easements are legally binding agreements transferring a negotiated set of property rights (primarily development 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. 

     


    Importance

    Intact forestlands supply timber products, wildlife habitat, soil and watershed protection, aesthetically beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities. As these areas become fragmented and disappear, so do the myriad benefits they provide. Local governments can guide development away from the most sensitive areas through traditional land use tools such as zoning and performance standards, but sometimes these measures are not sufficient to fully protect the forested component of our state’s valuable natural resource base. 


     + How It Works

    The U.S. Forest Service State and Private Forestry branch administers the FLP in cooperation with Texas A&M Forest Service. The program allows the State of Texas to purchase conservation easements on forestland with the goal of keeping the land in its forested state. Landowners may continue to own their land and retain all other rights to the property, including the right to sell the property. 

    The conservation easement is recorded with the property deed and transferred with the sale or transfer of the property. U.S. Forest Service funds 75 percent of the easement purchase cost and the landowner provides 25 percent. The landowner’s share may come from nonfederal sources such as a donation of part of the easement value from the landowner or a non-profit organization interested in the project.

     

     + Does My Property Qualify?
    In order for projects to qualify, the following requirements must be met:
    • Proposed project must be within the Texas Forest Legacy Area shown on the map 
    • Landowner must be a willing seller of the rights determined in the conservation easement
    • Landowner must have clear title to the land
    • Landowner must work with TFS and Texas Forest Legacy Committee to identify the source of the 25 percent matching funds
    • Landowner must be willing to allow TFS and/or committee members to make an on-site visit to the property by appointment
     + How to Apply?

    The Forest Legacy Application includes two documents. The first is the Application Guide, which describes the process in detail and provides vital information for landowners interested in participating in the Texas Forest Legacy Program. The Application Guide also provides instructions for completing the application. The application itself is a form that can be printed out and completed by hand, or it can be completed electronically. Please note that if you complete the form electronically, you still must print it out in order to sign the document.

    Interested landowners will also find a completed sample application to further assist them in determining what to include in the application. The information included in the sample application was taken from the top rated project of 2010.

     

     + Contact
    Forest Legacy Program and Committee Contacts:

    Gretchen Riley
    Forest Legacy Program Coordinator
    Texas A&M Forest Service
    200 Technology Way, Ste. 1281
    College Station, TX 77845
    griley@tfs.tamu.edu
    979-458-7373

    David Bezanson
    Protection and Easements Manager
    The Nature Conservancy
    318 Congress Avenue
    Austin, TX 78701
    dbezanson@tnc.org
    512-623-7251

    Kent Evans
    Texas Longleaf Implementation Team
    99kevans@gmail.com
    979-308-1600

    Jim Crooks
    Fire and Timber Team Leader
    National Forests and Grasslands of Texas
    2221 N. Raguet St.
    Lufkin, TX 75904
    jcrooks@fs.fed.us
    936-639-8553

    Julie Shackelford
    Texas Programs Director
    The Conservation Fund
    P.O. Box 4608, SFA Station
    Nacogdoches, TX 78701
    julieshackelford@conservationfund.org
    936-468-5490

    Stephen D. Lange
    Regional Director 
    Wildlife Division, Region 3
    11942 FM 848
    Tyler, Texas 75707
    Stephen.Lange@tpwd.texas.gov
    903-566-1626 x221