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Forest Legacy Program now accepting applications
July 8, 2009
Contact: Diane Partridge, 541-963-3168 or Kevin Weeks, 503-945-7427
 
Applications are now being accepted for a program seeking to protect the future of Oregon’s forests by helping landowners acquire easements to assist conservation of forests in areas threatened by risk of fragmentation or development.
 
The Forest Legacy Program, administered locally by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), is a national cooperative forestry program of the U.S. Forest Service that seeks to conserve private forest lands in areas where forests may be lost to non-forest uses, to help protect forest resources, and enhance community forest conservation partnerships.
 
“We’re focusing our efforts on areas in Oregon that face immediate threats to conversion to non-forest uses,” said Diane Partridge, ODF’s Forest Legacy Program coordinator. “These are large areas of private forest land that face the possibility of development within the next decade, and where the consequences could be great in terms of losses to the ecological, social and economic benefits we enjoy from Oregon’s forests.”
 
The Forest Legacy Program is designed to support state and community efforts to keep forestland viable, and keeping working forests as forests. The voluntary program provides financial incentives --  using conservation easements or land acquisition  -- for private landowners to protect environmentally important working forest areas (those that provide forest products, water, fish and wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities) that are threatened by development, fragmentation and other non-forest uses.
 
People interested in submitting proposed projects for federal Fiscal Year 2011 funding should contact ODF and submit projects prior to September 25, 2009 for consideration.
 
Applications for the Forest Legacy Program, guidelines and additional program information are available on the ODF website.
 
Oregon welcomed its first Forest Legacy Program project in September 2007 when the City of Eugene worked with a private landowner to preserve over 25 acres of oak habitat called South Eugene Hills Phase One in Eugene’s Wild Iris Ridge. During 2008-2009, the Forest Legacy program also awarded $1,500,000 to the Deschutes Land Trust to acquire a conservation easement for the Skyline Forest near Bend.
 
A conservation easement is a legal restriction placed on a piece of property to protect a specific resource, or several resources. Conservation easements protect land for enjoyment by future generations while allowing owners to retain many private property rights and to live on and use their land, at the same time potentially providing the landowner with incentive or tax benefits.
 
For more information about the program, contact Diane Partridge, ODF Forest Legacy Program Coordinator at 541-963-3168.  
 
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