Forest Legacy Program

Forest Legacy Program: Frequently Asked Questions | USDA Program Overview.

Dates and Deadlines (2020 for the 2022 Program Year)

The application period for the 2022 program year is now open. The deadline for proposal package submissions is:

Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

Forest Legacy 2020 Application Materials

  • Forest Legacy Request for Proposals [PDF format]
  • Form 10.4 Forest Legacy Application - Conservation Easement [Word format]
  • Form 10.5 Forest Legacy Application - Fee Simple Purchase [Word format]
  • Form 10.6 Forest Legacy Program Property Data Sheet [Word format]
* Word format files have fillable forms that can be typed in. PDF files are for print only.

Program Purpose

The Forest Legacy Program (FLP), a program of the USDA Forest Service in partnership with States, supports State efforts to protect environmentally important forestlands. The program is designed to purchase land, or conservation easements, in an effort to protect private land that is threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. FLP is an entirely voluntary program that utilizes Federal grant funds to assist states in conserving lands that provide public benefits including sustainable forest resources, clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat, and forested scenic views, as well as protecting sensitive sites and habitats utilized by threatened and endangered species.

View Forest Legacy Program publications:

Program Information

Development of the nation’s forested areas poses an increasing threat to maintaining the integrity of our country’s valuable forestlands. Intact forestlands 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), sometimes these measures are not sufficient to fully protect the forested component of our natural resource base.

The Forest Legacy Program (FLP), a Federal program in partnership with States, supports State efforts to protect environmentally important forestlands. Designed to encourage the protection of privately-owned forestlands, 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 forestlands, through conservation easements, a legally binding agreement 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 conservation values.

To be eligible for the FLP, land must be located within the Forest Legacy Area for Virginia. The FLP pays up to 75 percent of the appraised value, with the required matching funds coming from private, State, or local sources. Landowners may benefit from reduced taxes if they choose to donate the required matching funds for the program by accepting what is called a bargain sale. For lands being offered for a conservation easement, a multiple-resource forest management plan is required.

Application and Ranking Process

Applications for the program are available after mid-March each year. Landowners interested in the program complete an application during the period of mid-March through the end of May and choose a Project Advocate. The Project Advocate then includes their property with other properties in a Project Proposal. Proposals are due to the Virginia Department of Forestry by August.

Project Proposals received each year are reviewed and ranked by a four-member Forest Legacy Subcommittee, confirmed by the state’s full Forest Stewardship Committee, and presented to the State Forester for nomination of the top three Virginia proposals for national ranking. A panel of FLP personnel from across the nation determine a national project ranking, which is considered by the President and by Congress during Federal budget deliberations. Highly-ranked proposals receive funding (or partial funding) in the Appropriations Act.

Contact information

Additional information about the Forest Legacy Program is available from:

  • Andrew Fotinos: Virginia Department of Forestry, PO Box 100, Salem, VA 24153; phone 434.270.4090.

Additional information resources

Last modified: Friday, 26-Feb-2021 13:52:06 EST