Earlier this week the USDA Forest Service announced that it had reached a milestone of protecting more than 2 million acres of private forests threatened by development. The Forest Service's Northeastern Area helped the agency reach the milestone when the state of Ohio purchased a 15,494-acre property roughly 90 miles south of Columbus.
The Forest Legacy program works with private landowners, states and conservation groups to promote sustainable, working forests, on a willing buyer, willing seller principle.
The recent milestone was achieved through public-private partnership using federal and leveraged funds of approximately $1.1 billion through the Forest Legacy program. The Legacy program has leveraged the federal investment of more than 50 percent of project costs. To date, more than $630 million has been contributed to these efforts through non-federal matching funds.
In fiscal year 2010, the program was funded at more than $79 million to assist landowners across the country to conserve and manage their land while protecting environmentally important landscapes.
Roughly 57 percent of the nation's forests are privately owned yet the country has lost 15 million acres of private working forests in the last 10 years with an additional 22 million acres projected to be at risk in the next decade.
To read the full press release and see some of the forest legacy success stories, please click here.
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