Forest Legacy Program



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.

Project proposals seeking funding under the Forest Legacy Program for federal FY – 2023 can be submitted now through August 2nd, 2021. The Forest Legacy Committee (FLC) of the State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee (SFSCC) will convene on Monday, August 30th, 2021 @ 10 AM CST to review and rank projects for which funding is being sought. Please be aware that the Forest Legacy Program is a 75/25 matching grant and at least 25% nonfederal funding match is required. 

The submission packet should include information that the submitter feels qualifies the tract for inclusion in the Forest Legacy Program (see Related Links below). Please provide either 15 print copies or 1 print copy and 1 electronic copy of all materials in your submission for use by the FLC in evaluating and scoring your project. Also provide us with the landowner’s contact information to verify their interest and intent to participate. Any tract owner or representative is welcome to appear at the ranking meeting and submit a project proposal if they notify us in advance (prior to close of business on August 16th, 2021).

Your project proposal packet must include a letter of intent to Brian Hughett or the FLC from the respective landowner before the FLC will consider their tract. A sample is in the RFP packet. A letter of intent is not a commitment, but it does imply that the landowner is familiar with the program and its objectives, and as such intends to participate in the program. We need contact information of the willing seller, including phone number, with each letter of intent. To that end interested landowners will be called before August 30th to discuss the program with them. 

For those submitting more than one tract for funding consideration, we ask that you prioritize them in a cover letter in the packet of information you send. Of special interest is the "Project Application Scoring" (in the RFP packet) that the review committee will be using to make ranking decisions.

See the “REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FLP 2023” under RELATED LINKS for additional project proposal guidance including project submission checklist. 

Those wishing to have tracts considered for funding must have their submissions turned into the contact below by 4:30 PM CST, Monday, August 2nd, 2021.

  • 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.
2020 Forest Legacy Program Priority Areas
Brian Hughett measuring DBH of tree on Forest Legacy Tract

Brian Hughett, Forest Stewardship Forester
Tennessee Division of Forestry
P.O. Box 40627
Nashville, TN 37204 
(615) 837-5550