Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS)
About the Forest Legacy Program
The Forest Legacy Program (FLP), administered by the Texas A&M Forest Service, the State of Texas, and USDA Forest Service, is a voluntary program which purchases conservation easements on forestland voluntarily offered for purchase by private landowners. Protecting priority forests from conversion to non-forested land use is the program’s goal. Forested wetland conservation is an aspect of this program.
Eligible land must be in the Forest Legacy target area.
Landowners must have clear title, be willing to permanently sell the development rights of the land, and allow Texas A&M Forest Service or FLP committee members to visit to the property by appointment.
About Conservation Easements
While the conservation easement protects the land from development, the landowner retains all other landowner rights including the right to sell (in which case the conservation easement is recorded with the deed and transferred as part of the sale). The landowner receives a one-time cash payment for the sale of the development rights of the property. Tax deductions may also be available to the landowner if the value of the property decreases due to restriction of development rights.
Funding the Conservation Easement
The purchase of the conservation easement is funded up to 75% by the USDA Forest Service as part of the Farm Bill, and 25% or more funded by non-federal sources. The landowner will participate with Texas A&M Forest Service and the Texas Forest Legacy Committee to identify the source of the 25% non-federal funds.
Funding is competitive, and a landowner may wish to partner with a forest conservation nonprofit or community partners to develop a strong application. Land trusts may provide funding or accept a donation of the land under conservation easement as part of the matching funds for FLP.
Applications for FLP are due by Aug. 31st of each year. The application is reviewed by the Texas Forest Legacy Committee and evaluated by four identified core criteria (see application guide below). Texas Forest Legacy Committee selects desired projects and works with landowners to prepare the project for submission to USDA Forest Service Region 8 office for a second evaluation. In December, the USDA Forest Service Region 8 office recommends projects to the USDA Forest Service national office where project undergo a third evaluation. Selected projects are then presented to the President for funding consideration.
- Interested landowners should read the FLP application guide and fill out the FLP application.
- If you are interested in partnering with a land trust for the funding for the matching portion of the FLP project, you can view accredited land trusts in your county at the Texas Land Trust Council’s Texas Land Trust Directory. Discuss the project idea with a land trust interested in forest conservation.