Incentives for Forest Landowners and Industry

Tuesday, April 19, 2022 | 10:17am
Forester Shannon Gann with Sequatchie County Landowner

NASHVILLE—Cost share incentives for tree planting and forest stand improvement activities are currently offered in preparation for the May sign-up period. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry (TDF) encourages family woodland owners to apply for technical and financial assistance to establish or enrich their forests. Loggers can apply to improve harvesting capacity and enhance protection of water quality.

“The Division of Forestry’s landowner assistance programs promote sustainable forest management on family-owned private woodlands for the multiple uses and benefits provided by forested landscapes,” State Forester David Arnold said. “The cost share model assists landowners and the loggers and sawmills who buy from them in implementing forest management practices that yield healthy, resilient, and productive forests.”

Financial assistance to landowners and loggers is available through numerous agencies and programs. Each program has different objectives, and TDF Area Foresters can help navigate options, eligibility rules, and sign-up periods. Most programs reimburse the recipient a share of the cost. Cost shares can range from covering 50 to 100 percent of costs, and most have a maximum of $15,000 per program, per recipient.

Forestry programs under the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) promote long-term investments in Tennessee’s forests by providing cost share incentives to qualified landowners and loggers. The programs support sustainable forest management practices on forestland for timber, wildlife habitat, clean water, and soil protection by providing incentives to establish or manage hardwood or softwood forest stands. TAEP is also available for loggers and sawmills to avoid environmental and water quality impacts resulting from timber harvesting.

The Duck and Elk River Watershed Buffer Initiative cost share program was created five years ago by a coalition of Tennessee’s forest and wildlife conservation agencies and organizations. This program aims to improve riparian zones, address critical aquatic habitat, and improve overall forest health in Bedford, Coffee, Dickson, Franklin, Giles, Hickman, Humphreys, Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Moore, and Williamson Counties.

The Southern Pine Beetle Initiative (SPBI) encourages establishment of pine forest stands that are resistant to infestations and management of existing stands to make them more resilient. SPBI helps timber harvesters reduce operational costs associated with harvesting small acreages or hauling distance to a market. The USDA Forest Service provides funds for this initiative, and TDF administers the allocations.

Contact your local Area Forester to learn more about these and other financial assistance programs, determine eligibility, apply, and implement a plan. Learn more online at www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests/landowners/financial.html.

Your local Area Forester can be found at  www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/agriculture/documents/forestry/AgForAreaForesterMap.pdf.

Pictured are Area Forester Shannon Gann assisting a landowner with forest health planning in Sequatchie County.