USDA logo Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities

Forest Stewardship Program (FSP)

Helping private forest landowners develop plans for the sustainable management of their forests

Program Basics
About 49 percent of all forest land in the United States—363 million acres—is under nonindustrial private ownership, contributing significantly to America's clean water and air, wildlife habitat, recreational resources, and timber supplies. The Forest Stewardship Program provides technical assistance, through state forestry agency partners, to nonindustrial private forestland owners to encourage and enable active long-term forest management.

A primary focus of the program is to develop comprehensive, multi-resource management plans to give landowners the information they need to manage their forests for a variety of products and services. The planning assistance offered through the Forest Stewardship Program may also provide landowners with enhanced access to other USDA conservation programs and/or forest certification programs.

Project Examples
The Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation (BCMSR) is the largest NIPF tract between Baltimore and Philadelphia, containing about 1,800 acres of contiguous forests, which are surrounded by development pressures. The governing Camp Conservation Committee (CCC) preferred preservation over conservation. However, after the first Stewardship plan was developed and the first timber harvest was completed, the CCC realized the value of managing the forests and was encouraged by the results.

Preparing a Forest Stewardship Plan helped to coordinate the efforts of local, state, and federal staff working on weed control in the Picture Canyon area in Arizona. Named for its many petroglyphs, this 55-acre area located along a river had been seriously degraded by yellow star thistle, scotch thistle, and bull thistle. The plan helped those involved to learn to use a much wider array of management activities, including prescribed fire, herbicide application, and mechanical treatment to control the thistles.

Delaware entered into partnership with the Maryland Forest Service, the Pinchot Institute and Sustainable Solutions, LLC, to establish a spatial land registry (SLR). This will enable small acreage landowners to do an online registration of their woodlands and be combined with other similar landowners in the area to qualify for carbon credit sales through the Bay Bank.

Application and Financial Information
The USDA Forest Service administers the Forest Stewardship Program in partnership with state forestry agencies. Contact a state forestry agency for more information on this program. For a list of state contacts, see

Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictions
Participation in the Forest Stewardship Program is open to any nonindustrial private forest landowner who is committed to the active management and stewardship of forested properties for at least 10 years.

A landowner may be any private individual, group, association, corporation, Native American Tribe, or other private legal entity. There is no restriction on the maximum number of acres owned, although some states may have a minimum acreage requirement.


Karl Dalla Rosa, National Program Manager
USDA Forest Service
Phone: (202) 205-6206

Last Updated January 26, 2010

Please note: Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities is also available for download in PDF format.

PDF Icon800KB ~ 118 pages

ATTRA Logo Home | Site Map | Comments | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Webmaster NCAT Logo