Forest Legacy Program
The application period for FY 2025 projects
The Tennessee Forest Legacy Program currently conserves 53,315 acres across Tennessee, and is growing. Its mission is to protect environmentally important, working private forestlands threatened with conversion to non-forest uses.
The Forest Legacy Program identifies and permanently protects environmentally important private forestlands that are threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. This USDA Forest Service Program, authorized by the Farm Bill, works to identify and maintain well-managed, working forests on the landscape. Delivered through Forest Service Cooperative Forestry, Tennessee and most other US states qualify as a participant and compete nationally for 75% grant funding each year. Tennessee's State Forest Legacy Ranking Committee consists of experienced officials, professionals, and landowners of diverse environmental and conservation interests who grade and rank proposals annually for consideration. Forest Legacy in Tennessee specifically targets and perpetuates traditional forestland values and benefits on environmentally valuable forest lands by requiring each tract to have a detailed forest management plan, known as a Forest Stewardship Plan, to address all resource elements and land management objectives. On Tennessee's Forest Legacy tracts the benefits of timber production, wildlife management, soil and water conservation and other tangible and intrinsic values are maintained locally and will continue to produce benefits to Tennesseans.
Since initial involvement in 2000, fee simple and permanent conservation easement purchases to-date total 53,315 acres valued at $59 million. Over half of the $59 million land value ($32.9 million) was funded with federal Legacy grant money with the balance being private, non-federal matching lands and funds. Except for extremely rate situations, money from the Agriculture's budget are not used to permanently protect or purchase these lands.
- The project is situated within (whole or in part) a designated Forest Legacy Priority Area or adjacent to a previously purchased Forest Legacy tract.
- The project has at least 75 percent forest cover (or can be reforested to at least 75 percent forest cover).
- The project can be managed consistent with the purpose for which it was acquired by FLP.
- The landowner is willing to sell or donate the interest in perpetuity.
- The County Mayor(s) have reviewed the project proposal, which should include a summary of potential tax revenue impact and additional revenue sources (if applicable), and provided letters of support. Properties occurring in multiple counties need letters of support from each respective county.
- State Representative(s) and Senators have received a copy of the County Mayor(s) letter of support and reviewed the project proposal. Properties occurring in multiple congressional districts must have the project proposal sent for review by each respective state legislators.
- For fee acquisitions and projects seeking to sell a conservation easement: A current Multi-Resource Management Plan or abstract detailing owner’s management intent must be established at the time of application. The management objectives identified within the Multi-Resource Management Plan or abstract detailing owner’s management intent must be consistent with the purposes of the Forest Legacy Program and further Tennessee’s programmatic objectives through planned practices promoting forest health and active forest management.
- A perpetual annual (for conservation easements) or every 5 years (for fee acquisition) monitoring agreement with a non-TDF entity.
- A willingness to sign an agreement between TDF and project submitter outlining roles and responsibilities as they pertain to preparing project submission documents and, if funded, requisite documents for the Forest Legacy Program and the Tennessee Real Estate Asset Management team.