Celebrating the Forest Stewardship Program

By Whitney Forman-Cook

Did you know that 58 percent (445 million acres) of the nation's forests are privately owned? The Forest Stewardship Program supports state forestry agencies in their critically important work to equip private landowners with the unbiased, science-based information they need to sustainably manage their forests.

This on-the-ground technical assistance yields tremendous economic and environmental benefits for individual families, local communities, and the nation as a whole. In fact, much of the actively managed forestland in private ownership is in close proximity to federal lands, which means the Forest Stewardship Program plays a significant role in curbing forest threats—such as invasive insects, disease, and wildfire—that know no bounds.

For the Forest Stewardship Program, 40 years of cooperative forestry translates to landowner empowerment. With the program's resources, state forestry agencies help landowners develop forest management plans (also known as Forest Stewardship Plans) that keep private lands healthy and productive now and into the future. Whatever a landowner's management goals are for their property—be it timber production, water and air quality, or wildlife habitat—all are attainable with a Forest Stewardship Plan.

Quick facts about the Forest Stewardship Program:

Of the nearly 4 trillion board feet of standing timber in the United States, nearly 1.4 trillion is owned by the families and individuals targeted by the Forest Stewardship Program for assistance. The program routinely provides technical resources to more than 400,000 landowners annually.

Non-commercial forestland owners that have management plans are 270 percent more likely to meet their management objectives and 240 percent more likely to reforest their land compared to those without management plans. With Forest Stewardship Program dollars, state forestry agencies can provide management plans to private landowners at a discounted rate or free of charge. 

On average, state forestry agencies match federal investments 2:1, which means the impact of federal dollars delivered through the Forest Stewardship Program have amplified on-the-ground impacts. For example, timber harvests resulting from each additional $100,000 in federal investment conservatively result in 25 to 58 jobs and $1.3 to $2.9 million in annual income.

Have questions? Contact Communications Director Whitney Forman-Cook at wforman-cook@stateforesters.org.

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