Monday, January 4, 2016

Keeping Forests as Forests

Will your heirs keep your forest as forest?  With the new year upon us maybe a New Year's resolution could be to have that conversation with the future heirs of your forested property? Throughout the Northeast and across the country numerous pressures threaten our ability to "keep forests as forests." Perhaps the greatest threat to forest loss is land conversion that occurs when forest is passed from one generation to the next. Most States served by the US Forest Service Northeastern Area have identified forest fragmentation through inter-generational transfer, dividing land up among your children, as an issue of critical importance in their Forest Action Plans. The Forest Stewardship Program has recognized and responded to this need over the years. A display, publications, and technology transfer products have been developed by the Forest Service for family forest owners and service providers about options for keeping land in forest as it passes to the next generation. Additionally, the new Forest Stewardship Program Standards and Guidelines, just released in November 2015, require that each Stewardship Plan developed throughout the country must provide conservation-based estate planning or legacy planning information. To find out more about estate planning options for your family forest visit the Forest Service Forest Stewardship Program web page. Additionally, Penn State Extension has developed a Legacy Planning web site that provides a ton of useful information including links for presentations, publications, stories from landowners, talking points and other resources. Be sure to check out both of these useful links to keep your forests as forests for 2016 and into the future. Have that conversation today.

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