New forest conservation program announced
There’s good news for New York’s forests. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York office of the Land Trust Alliance (the Alliance) recently announced they will provide conservation funding
to forest owners.
The 2022 Forest Conservation Easements for Land Trusts Program offers competitive matching grants of up to $350,000 to fund the acquisition of conservation easements on forestland in New York State (NYS). The grants will be awarded to qualified New York land trusts, to partner with landowners and communities to increase the pace of forested land conservation to combat climate change.
The program is funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and will be administered by the Alliance, a national conservation organization that supports land trusts across the country with conservation policy initiatives, technical assistance, trainings, and best practices.
The grant program comes at an opportune time given the importance of local forestlands.
Forest and woodlands are widely recognized as key players in helping to:
- Reduce flooding from extreme weather.
- Provide critical habitat for woodland-based species like bobcat, red fox, and great-horned owls.
- Slowly release water through dry periods into neighboring streams and rivers —critical components to the health of our region’s waterways.
According to the 2020 NYS Forest Action Plan, privately owned forestlands cover 13.62 million acres and represent 74 percent of New York’s forests. Over 10 million acres are family-owned or non-corporate forests. Nearly 700,000 private forest landowners provide the public with the benefits of clean air and water, carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, and a forest-based economy.
The program is similar to the current state farmland protection program: landowners are compensated when they permanently conserve their woodlands based on a conservation easement appraisal.
Our land trust is working with several local landowners to apply for grant funding in 2022, and we hope to work with more in 2023 should funding be allocated again as part of the Environmental Protection Fund.
For more information please visit the Land Trust Alliance website under the Forest Conservation Easement Program for Land Trusts in the New York program area >>