Ohio Forest Legacy Program

Ohio Department of Natural Resources

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Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Anticipated deadline: May 31, 2020

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in Ohio: Adams County, Ashtabula County, Athens County, Belmont County, Carroll County Show all

Location of residency: Ohio

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Note: The deadline above is for priority review. However, applications are accepted throughout the year. 

What is Forest Legacy?

It is a partnership of the USDA Forest Service and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry to protect working forests from being converted to non-forest use.

A conservation agreement will be developed between a willing landowner and the Department of Natural Resources. For this program, working forest means “a forest with a management plan stating clearly identified management goals that incorporate timber harvesting as an essential management tool.” The main elements of the agreement are that the property won’t be developed and that the forest will be managed according to a stewardship plan developed jointly by the landowner and the Division of Forestry.


The overall mission of Ohio’s Forest Legacy Program is to protect working forests. The program was established with the guiding principle that working forests would be professionally managed under a forest management plan that incorporates timber harvesting as a management tool. Working forests provide other environmental benefits, including rare wildlife and plant habitat, and improve air and water quality. The program goals are to: 

  • Protect working forests threatened by conversion to non-forest uses;
  • Protect and enhance social/cultural values associated with forest uses;
  • Improve/enhance biodiversity;
  • Improve water quality and protect water quantity; and
  • Enhance economic productivity through traditional forest uses.


Only areas already in forest are eligible for the program although a limited amount of compatible non-forest use is permitted within the working forest agreement area. Terms of the working forest agreement are tailored to meet the objectives of the landowner, agency and the characteristics of the land.

Landowners with land under a working forest agreement are not required to allow public access.  The landowner will manage the land under a Forest Stewardship Plan and be encouraged to harvest timber and carryout other traditional forest uses. Oil and gas drilling may be allowed.

In Ohio's Forest Legacy Areas the primary means of protection will be the acquisition of conservation easements from willing sellers. Fee acquisition from willing sellers will also be considered on a case-by-case basis. The landowner maintains ownership of the land if it is placed under a working forest agreement (a conservation easement). If the land is acquired through a fee purchase, the land is then owned by the State of Ohio.

The payment amount a landowner would be eligible for is determined by a land appraisal. The property is appraised before there are conservation restrictions in place. It is also appraised with the conservation restrictions in place. The difference in the two appraisals is the payment for which you would be eligible. The appraisal is heavily dependent on the location of the property. The value of a Forest Legacy property can only be determined by such an appraisal.

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


  • Landowner participation in the FLP is entirely voluntary.
    • Landowners must apply to have their property considered for the program.
  • Only private forestland from willing landowners can be entered into the program.
    • Also, the property must be within the designated forest legacy areas. [See Map]
  • Any offer by the Forest Legacy Program to purchase easements will require an appraisal conducted in accordance with federal yellow book appraisal guidelines.
    • These appraisals are coordinated through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources near the end of the Forest Legacy project selection process.
  • Read FAQ for further guidelines for this program.


  • Activities that may disturb the land surface such as strip mining would be prohibited, so the landowner must control certain mineral rights in order to participate in the Forest Legacy Program.