Forest Legacy Program

WHAT IS FOREST LEGACY?

The Program
The New Mexico Forest Legacy Program is designed to protect and manage, for future generations, environmentally important forest areas that are threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. Protection from future subdivision and land development is achieved by purchasing conservation easements from willing landowners. Priority is given to private forested lands which:

  • are threatened by future conversion to non-forest uses;
  • protect and enhance watershed and water quality;
  • maintain and restore riparian areas;
  • protect important wildlife habitats;
  • contribute to the cultural and economic vitality of rural communities.
Opne growing ponderosa pine stand on hill with yellow grass

Private Landowner Forests
The role of private forest lands in producing a sustainable flow of goods and services dramatically exceeds that of federal lands. Across America, 67% of the forests are non-federal. Continued good stewardship of private forests is critical to the health and quality of human life, for ourselves and future generations. Successful conservation and sustainable use of natural resources depend upon sound forest management by private landowners. When private forests are subdivided, fragmented, and converted to developed uses, forest management options are limited and critical natural resources are often lost forever.

Conservation Easements
One method of assistance to landowners is to purchase conservation easements on a ‘willing seller’ basis. Instead of making costly outright purchase of forest land, conservation easements limit subdivision and development rights. The land remains in forest cover while the landowners continue to own, control access, manage, and use their lands and natural resources. A Forest Stewardship Plan accompanies a Forest Legacy easement. This is a flexible, long-term plan that assists private landowners with the active management of their forest and related resources. Forest Legacy easements are held by the NM Forestry Division and purchased by state grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Public Values
Conservation easements provide a tool to protect the basic values associated with desirable quality of life for the citizens of New Mexico. The protection of forest land, watershed, wildlife habitat, and scenic beauty provide benefits to each of us, even though public access is not available on most Forest Legacy easements.

More Information:
EMNRD-Forestry Division
1220 South St. Francis Dr. Rm. 112
Santa Fe, NM 87505

or call: 505-476-3325

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