The Forest Legacy Program (FLP) is a USDA Forest Service program in partnership with Mississippi that supports local efforts to protect environmentally sensitive, privately-owned forest lands threatened by conversion to non-forest use through land acquisition and conservation easements.
The total area of private forestland in the U.S. has gradually declined since the mid-twentieth century. Increasing population and urban centers are adding demands on our native forests.
Projections indicate that 11% of private forests are likely to see dramatic increases in housing density in the next three decades. Development results in the loss or forests, smaller areas of intact forest, smaller parcel sizes, and isolation of forest fragments. These changes alter the ability of private forests to provide ecological, economic, and human benefits.
The Forest Legacy Program Plan (2020 Update) identifies three Forest Legacy areas (North, Central, and Southeast Mississippi) where natural forest communities are potentially threatened by conversion to non-forest use. The plan includes information about the Forest Legacy Program and how to apply. All nominations must be within a designated Forest Legacy Area and submitted by a willing landowner by August 15th to be considered for this competitive national grant program.
The Forest Legacy Program was established in 1990 through an amendment to the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act (CFAA) of 1978 (16 USC 2101 et seq.) to promote the long-term integrity of forestlands. Since its creation, FLP has conserved over 2.8 million acres of forest land and expanded across the country to 53 states and territories. Over 6,800 acres have been conserved in Mississippi since 2010 through Forest Legacy. These “working forests” protect water quality and provide wildlife habitat, forest products, nature-based recreation and other public benefits.