MD Forest Legacy Program

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

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Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Indigenous Group Government Entity College / University Nonprofit

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in Maryland: Allegany County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Calvert County, Caroline County Expand all

Location of residency: Maryland

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the Forest Legacy Program is a Federal program that works in partnership with States, supporting efforts to protect environmentally sensitive forest from conversion to non-forest uses.


The program is designed to identify and protect environmentally important forests through the use of perpetual conservation easements or fee simple purchases at market value between willing sellers and willing buyers.

  • A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and an eligible organization that restricts future activities on the land to protect its conservation values.
  • A Fee Simple Purchase transfers full ownership, including the underlying title from one party to another.


The program is available only in areas identified in Maryland’s Forest Legacy Program Assessment of Need, Forest Legacy Areas. Please refer to Figure 1. to see Maryland’s Forest Legacy Areas.

Forest Legacy Areas are geographically defined areas that were determined to have some of the highest economic and environmental values to benefit Maryland’s wildlife, wood products industry, water quality, and residents.

How Does Forest Legacy Work?

Only private forest in a Forest Legacy Area is eligible for the program. Landowners who are willing to sell their forest or development rights are encouraged to apply during a sign-up period. At the end of a sign-up period, all applications will be evaluated and ranked. The highest ranked applications will enter the acquisition process. If negotiations produce acceptable easement or sales terms, the property will be ranked on a National scale and possibly be purchased. If negotiations or the National ranking do not produce acceptable terms, applying again in future years is a possibility. The number of parcels accepted for acquisition will depend on the funding available and the estimated value of the parcels selected. 

The Forest Legacy Program is a willing seller, willing buyer program. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Only private forest in a Forest Legacy Area is eligible for the program.
  • At least 75% of the area put under easement/purchased must be forested. The remaining 25% needs to be in a compatible land use such as agriculture.
  • Up to 75% of the funding can be supplied by the Federal Government; at least 25% of funding will come from, State, Local, NGO funds or can be donated by the landowner.