Financial Assistance

Many of the benefits produced by a well managed forest accrue to others - clean water to residents in the watershed, wildlife to local hunters, and decreased insect pest populations to neighboring forestland owners. For this reason, a number of programs have been created to provide financial assistance that support private forest landowners who want to increase the production of these public benefits.

Financial assistance to landowners is available through a number of agencies and programs listed in the table below. Most programs require the landowner to contribute a share of the cost. Each agency has a different objective; some emphasize protection of water quality and others wildlife or renewable energy. The overall purpose is to encourage landowners to implement forestry practices.

The requirements to qualify for cost share programs vary. The Division of Forestry’s role in administering specific programs also varies from marketing other agency’s programs to 100% program administration. The table briefly explains current program opportunities. Contact your local Area Forester or the local office of the agency listed in the table for additional program information.

Program Agency Incentive
Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) USFS, TDF Free evaluation of forest resources with plan for conservation and utilization
TN Ag Enhancement Program (TAEP) TDF Up to 75% cost share practices to promote sustainable forest management
American Tree Farm System TDF, TFA, AFF Free evaluation of forestland, plan for sustainable forestry, and 3rd party forest certification
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) FSA, TDF 50% cost share practices and annual payments for protecting highly erodible and environmentally sensitive land
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) NRCS 75%/90% cost share practices to install and maintain conservation practices including forest management plan development
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) NRCS 75%/90% cost share practices to develop or enhance fish and wildlife habitat
Wetland Reserve Program NRCS Technical and financial assistance to restore, enhance, or improve wetland resources
Southern Pine Beetle Initiative USFS, TDF Up to 50% cost share practices to implement southern pine beetle resistant forestry practices
Forest Legacy USFS, TDF Permanent conservation easement or fee simple purchases to protect environmentally important, working forestlands threatened with conversion to non-forest uses
 Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) NRCS Up to $200,000 over 5 year period ($400,000 for joint ventures) to conserve and enhance soil, water, air, and related natural resources
Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) FSA Financial assistance to owners and operators of agricultural and non-industrial private forest land to establish, produce, and deliver biomass feedstocks
Emergency Forest Restoration Program FSA 75% cost share to restore tree cover after natural disaster
Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) NRCS Conservation easement for up to 50% of market value to keep productive farm and ranchland in agricultural uses
AFF – American Forest Foundation
FSA – Farm Services Agency
NRCS – Natural Resources Conservation Service
TDF – Tennessee Division of Forestry
TFA - Tennessee Forestry Association
USFS - United States Forest Service