Forest Sustainability Fund for Local Government

Forestland provides many benefits to landowners, but also to communities. Landowners directly realize timber, wildlife and recreational values, while the benefits of watershed protection, clean air and scenic beauty are enjoyed by society at large. Realizing this, the Virginia Code enables localities to provide use value taxation that can assist owner in keeping their land as forests. Under use-value taxation, properties are taxed based on the productive value of the land rather than the current market value, which results in lower property taxes.

For county and city governments, maintaining forest land is beneficial, as land devoted to forest land use generally requires less cost in providing services than more intensive uses. However, property in forest land use does result in less revenue to local governments. As a result, the General Assembly established the Forest Sustainability Fund in 2022 for localities to apply for an allocation from the Fund to help offset lower, or forgone tax revenue. Forgone revenue is the fair market value of forest land minus the forest use value of forest land times the locality tax rate.

The Code states that monies will be used for public education, outdoor recreation or forest conservation.

Who is Eligible

Local county and city governments with forest use value assessment may apply.

To Apply

An application notice will be sent to each locality with forest use value taxation in October. Applications are generally accepted from October 1 through November 15 each year.

The information required is:

  • Basic locality contact information, including a W-9 tax form
  • A copy of the local ordinance that established forest use taxation
  • The amount of forgone revenue due to forest land use taxation

Localities may apply October 1 – November 15 through the VDOF’s Forestry Grants System Access Portal.

Fund Distribution


Applications are reviewed and fund distribution is calculated after November 15 and applicants are notified.

Forgone revenue from forest land use reported by applying localities and the Forest Sustainability Fund amounts awarded are available in the Resource Library below.

Additional Resources

Code of Virginia Forest Sustainability Fund

VDOF’s Forestry Grants System Access Portal

ImageTitleIDDescriptionContent Typehf:tax:document-categoryhf:tax:Media
Forest Sustainability Fund Awards FY2023
Forest Sustainability Fund Awards FY2023

This document presents the forgone revenue from forest land use reported by applying localities and the Forest Sustainability Fund amounts awarded for fiscal year 2023.

Viewfinancial-assistance-forest-management forest-managementdocument

A variety of financial assistance programs are available through VDOF and partner agencies for forest management activities.

Explore All Financial Assistance Programs

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