The purpose of the Forest Stewardship Program is to encourage long-term stewardship of family forest land by providing professional planning and technical assistance to private landowners. Participation in the program is voluntary, and forest landowners can obtain information and cost-share assistance throughout the year. Since 1991, almost 5,000 landowners in Michigan have used their Forest Stewardship Plan to help them to protect, manage, and enjoy their forest.
Tax Incentive Programs
Best Management Practices
The Commercial Forest program provides a significant property tax reduction to private landowners as an incentive to retain and manage their forest land for long-term timber production in support of the state's forest products industry. Landowners pay a specific tax (currently $1.25 per acre) in property taxes in exchange for managing their land as a productive commercial forest. More than 2.2 million acres of private forest land that are owned by 1,800 landowners are enrolled in the program. Commercial Forest lands are open to the public for foot access for hunting and fishing.
Private landowners own over 11 million acres of forestland in Michigan. The purpose of the Qualified Forest Program (QFP) is to encourage private forestland owners to manage their land in an economically viable and environmentally sustainable manner. Landowners receive an exemption from local school operating taxes and/or exemptions from the uncapping of the taxable value of the property in the event of a change in ownership.
-Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
The Forest Legacy Program seeks to protect privately owned and environmentally significant forest land from being converted to non-forest uses. This program is a strictly voluntary program and involves the acquisition of land in fee ownership or rights in land through a conservation easement. If a conservation easement is acquired, the land remains in private ownership but does provide for public access. The Forest Legacy Program encourages partnerships with local governments and land trusts, recognizing the important contributions that private landowners, local communities, and environmental organizations make to forest conservation efforts.