ODNR ‘Legacy’ program paying landowners who protect woodlands


COLUMBUS — Woodland owners in 31 northeastern and southeastern Ohio counties can apply to participate in a federal conservation easement program that provides a one-time payment in exchange for voluntarily agreeing to permanently maintain their woods as working forests.

Applications will be accepted through April 23 for enrollment in the Forest Legacy Program, which is coordinated nationally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and administered in Ohio by ODNR Division of Forestry.

Supporting Ohio forestry

“Sustainably-managed forested lands not only help clean Ohio’s air and water, they provide income and help support the state’s $15 billion wood industry,” said David Lytle, chief of ODNR Division of Forestry.

“By enrolling woodlands in the Forest Legacy Program, a landowner is able to earn income from a property, while at the same time, ensuring it will be in a healthy state to serve future generations.”

Landowners who enter the Forest Legacy Program must agree to manage their woodlands according to plans developed in mutual cooperation with the Division of Forestry. If accepted, landowners can receive a one-time payment for accepting a conservation easement on their property.

Best areas

Two regions in Ohio, including six counties in northeast Ohio and 25 counties in Eastern and Southeast Ohio, have been identified as areas that would best benefit. These counties have a relatively large amount of forest cover and a significant number of housing starts.

They include: Adams, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Gallia, Geauga, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lake, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Portage, Ross, Scioto, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Vinton and Washington counties.

Only forested properties within these counties are eligible.

More forests

Ohio’s forests have increased from just 10 percent of the state’s landscape in the early 1900s to more than 30 percent today. While forest cover remains steady, the number of new forest landowners has increased from 320,000 to nearly 400,000 in the past decade.

“Many of these landowners are buying smaller woodlots that are less than 20 acres in size,” Lytle said. “The Forest Legacy Program is an excellent tool for protecting our highest quality forests from the impacts of this fragmentation.”

Applications for Ohio’s Forest Legacy Program are available from the ODNR Division of Forestry at 2045 Morse Road, Building H-1, Columbus, OH 43229. Applications are online at www.ohiodnr.com/forestry.

For more information, visit www.ohiodnr.com, or call ODNR Division of Forestry at 614-265-6667.


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  1. We need to strongly and nationally preserve our rural (legacy landscapes), farming (eco/clean agri/heritage/history/culinary/farming/equestrian natural tourism) and NativeAmerican, Civil War, historic areas,waterways, and landscapes, in SE TN, NW Ga, in the SE Hamilton Co, SW Bradley Co, TN (and adjoining areas,etc), from development of all kinds, ex/sub/urbanization, franchises, real estate developments/expansions, metro annexation, (spot)rezoning lands for other nonfarming, nonrural,etc.,uses, and more. However, these areas need to be preserved, as they are still being used by many that farm and raise livestock. These areas (and areas around them) need longterm preservation, and allowed to remain as quiet, backwoods, natural and rural as possible.
    More people would probably be farming and raising livestock,if it weren’t for this kind of “development activities” occurring. Part of the problem may possibly be the fact that many farmers still have not recovered from the big storms that came through these areas a year or so ago.
    These areas, however, do not need to be “taken over” by those that want urbanization, to put a “new city” in or around these areas, etc., which means that livestock and farming will eventually be off limits. Why is this kind of activity even being discussed, or permits allowing these kinds of developments/expansions, even being issued, with family farmers being quietly coerced into selling off thier farmlands?
    America’s rural, historic, and farming areas need to be much more strongly protected and preserved longterm, all over America!


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