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Community Forest Program (CFP)

What is the Community Forest Program?

Students gathered in a forest setting

Through the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (Community Forest Program or CFP), financial assistance grants are available to local governments, Indian tribes, and qualified nonprofit organizations to establish community forests and sustainably manage them for many public benefits, including recreation, income, wildlife habitat, stewardship demonstration sites, and environmental education.

Comparison of the Forest Legacy and Community Forest Programs

Program Basics:
  •  Individual grant applications may not exceed $400,000.
  • Full fee title acquisition is required. Conservation easements are not eligible.
  • Community Forests can be owned by local governments, Tribal Governments,  and qualified nonprofit entities.
  • The program pays up to 50% of the project costs and requires a 50% non-federal match. The match can include cash, in-kind services, or donations from a non-Federal source. Additional requirements and information are found in § 230.6 of the final rule.
  • Public access is required for CFP projects
  • The community is involved in the establishment of the community forest and long-term management decisions.
  • Lands eligible for grants funded under the program must be private forest at least five acres in size and at least 75 percent forested, or suitable for sustaining forest cover.
  • Frequently Asked Questions 

  The Community Forest Program is made possible with funding and other program support provided by the USDA Forest Service, Pacific NW Region, State & Private Cooperative Forestry.


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REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS - Closing Date January 15, 2015

The USDA Forest Service is requesting applications for the Community Forest Programs (CFP). The purpose of CFP is to establish community forests by acquiring land to protect from conversion to non-forest uses. This is a competitive grant program through which local governments, qualified non-profits and Indian tribes are eligible to apply for grants to establish community forests through fee simple acquisition of private forest land from a willing seller. Applications closing date is January 15, 2015. 2014-CFPRFP.pdf2014-CFPRFP.pdf

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Oregon's Framework for Desired Projects

Oregon's Stewardship Coordinating Committee has developed an “Oregon Framework for Desired Projects” for the program.  The framework is a set of recommended criteria for the Oregon Department of Forestry’s use in determining whether the Department should apply for technical assistance funds in support of the project.  The technical assistance funds would be used by the Department to assist the Community in implementing its Community Forest Plan should the project receive Community Forest Program funding.
Besides meeting all requirements in the Federal Request for Applications, Oregon applications from qualified non-profit organizations and local governments should include a letter from the private landowner that indicates the landowner is a voluntary, willing seller supporting the project.  In addition, the application should address – but still stay within the 8 page limit -- to what extent the following applies to the project:
  • A written and approved Forest Stewardship / Oregon Tree Farm System Management Plan – or the commitment to develop one before closing on the acquisition – will be used to establish the long-term management provisions of the Community Forest Plan.
  • The property is third party certified through the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) – or will seek such certification prior to closing on the acquisition.
  • The property is actively managed and demonstrates effective forest stewardship and sustainable forestry instead of in need of restoration. 
  • The property is located within an urban-rural interface area threatened with conversion to non-forestry use.
  • Long term management of the property supports implementation of the Oregon Conservation Strategy.
  • The purpose of the Community Forest contains a strong landowner/public forestry/outdoor education component.
Applications from family forestry related non-profit organizations - with local forestland owner and community involvement, and demonstrated financial and organizational capacity to manage the property - are strongly encouraged.  Landowner contribution to the required non-federal match in form of bargain sale is also encouraged.

Oregon Community Forest Program Fact Sheet

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Forest Stewardship/Oregon Tree Farm Plan Financial Assistance

The Oregon Department of Forestry currently has some funding available to provide cost-share assistance for a consultant to develop plans. Non-industrial private landowners who are the subject of the Community Forest Program application are free to pursue these funds on behalf of the Community IF:  
  1. The private forestland owner wants to willingly participate in the Community Forest Program and supports the applicant;
  2. the private forestland owner would commit to the Forest Stewardship Plan/Oregon Tree Farm plan (or a modification thereof that might remove public access and other provisions sought by the Community should the project not get Community Forest Program funding); and
  3. there is clear understanding between the Community and private landowner regarding who bears the cost-share non-federal match for the completed plan depending on the outcome of any award for the Community Forest Program. 
Private landowners must apply for Forest Stewardship/Oregon Tree Farm plan cost-share assistance through their Stewardship Forester using the application form at the bottom of the Forest Stewardship / Oregon Tree Farm System Management Plan webpage. Cost-share assistance in developing a Forest Stewardship/Oregon Tree Farm forest management plan will be considered per our normal process – there will be no preference given because the landowner is also tied to a proposed Community Forest Program project. Only NEW plans are eligible for cost-share assistance; there is no financial assistance available to update a current Forest Stewardship/Oregon Tree Farm Plans.

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Jim Cathcart 
Oregon Department of Forestry
2600 State Street, Building D
Salem, Oregon 97310
(503) 945-7493
Fax: (503) 945-7490

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