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Tennessee Forest Legacy Program

Tennessee Department of Agriculture

Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Anticipated deadline: The deadline for this grant has passed

Applicant type: Indigenous Group Government Entity College / University Nonprofit

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in Tennessee: Anderson County, Bedford County, Benton County, Bledsoe County, Bradley County Expand all

Location of residency: Tennessee


NOTE: FLP will not be accepting applications for FY2019 funding. 

Forest Legacy Program

The Tennessee Forest Legacy Program currently conserves 35,000 acres across Tennessee, and is growing. Its mission is to protect environmentally important, working private forestlands threatened with conversion to non-forest uses.

The Forest Legacy Program identifies and permanently protects environmentally important private forestlands that are threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. This USDA Forest Service Program, authorized by the Farm Bill, works to identify and maintain well-managed, working forests on the landscape. Delivered through Forest Service Cooperative Forestry, Tennessee and most other US states qualify as a participant and compete nationally for 75% grant funding each year. Tennessee's State Forest Legacy Ranking Committee consists of experienced officials, professionals, and landowners of diverse environmental and conservation interests who grade and rank proposals annually for consideration. Forest Legacy in Tennessee specifically targets and perpetuates traditional forestland values and benefits on environmentally valuable forest lands by requiring each tract to have a detailed forest management plan, known as a Forest Stewardship Plan, to address all resource elements and land management objectives. On Tennessee's Forest Legacy tracts the benefits of timber production, wildlife management, soil and water conservation and other tangible and intrinsic values are maintained locally and will continue to produce benefits to Tennesseans.

Since initial involvement in 2000, fee simple and permanent conservation easement purchases to-date total 35,272 acres valued at $33 million. Over half of the $33 million land value ($18.6 million) was funded with federal Legacy grant money with the balance being private, non-federal matching lands and funds. Except for extremely rate situations, money from the Agriculture's budget are not used to permanently protect or purchase these lands. 

The FLP offers landowners an opportunity to voluntarily protect important resources by donating or selling, either fee simple or through conservation easements, forested tracts that identify key resource values and establish management goals and land use restrictions. In this way the Program can help maintain the forestland base, protect special forest resources, and provide opportunities for traditional forest uses for future generations. Although landowners that participate in FLP may choose to donate or sell fee title to their lands, conservation easements are the preferred method of protecting important forestlands. FLP acquisitions will be from willing landowners only. 

Program objectives

Tennessee’s FLP objectives will be used to determine which eligible tracts will receive priority for participation in the Program. Objectives are aimed at protecting forest resource values that constituencies and the public consider of greatest concern. It should be emphasized that although the Program includes timber production as a potential FLP objective, the primary focus of the Program is on protecting threatened non-timber resource values with an emphasis on enhancing and maintaining a clean, abundant public use water supply. The objectives of FLP in Tennessee follows: 

  • Prevent conversions of forestlands to other uses. 
  • Preserve and protect water quality, fisheries, and water supplies. 
  • Preserve and protect riparian habitats.
  • Preserve and protect fish and wildlife habitats, rare plants, and biological diversity. 
  • Preserve and protect natural beauty.
  • Preserve and protect forest-based recreation opportunities. 
  • Preserve forestlands for current and future wood production.

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


  • Parcel eligibility criteria
    • Be located at least partially within one of Tennessee’s Forest Legacy Areas or adjacent  to a previously purchased Forest Legacy tract. 
    • Be owned by landowners that are willing and interested in donating or selling conservation easements, reserved interest deeds, or fee title through the FLP. 
    • Possess at least 10 percent stocking with hardwood or softwood tree species on 80% or more of tract acres or be capable of being so forested. 
    • Possess at least one environmental value of special concern to the public and the State, such as 
      • lands which directly affect water quality and other watershed values 
      • important fish and wildlife habitat
      • rare animals, plants or plant communities
      • biological diversity
      • riparian habitats
      • scenic beauty
      • forest-based recreation opportunities
      • forest products production capability 
    • Provide for continuity of one or more traditional forest uses. 
    • Possess environmental values that can be protected and managed effectively through conservation easements at reasonable cost.
  • The maximum federal contribution may not exceed 75 percent and is subject to availability of federal appropriations. The remaining 25 percent of Program costs must be paid for with non-federal matching funds or in-kind contributions from state, local, and nongovernmental sources.


  • In ranking applicant proposals, TDF and SFSCC will place priority on those tracts that possess multiple significant resources and opportunities that will achieve two or more FLP objectives.
  • Priority will also be given to tracts whose owners demonstrate their active intentions to accomplish the objectives of the Program.
  • In addition, consideration will be given to whether focusing on larger parcels can utilize Program resources more efficiently.