Forest Stewardship Program
Rhode Island’s Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) was developed for woodland owners who want to know more about their woodland and how to manage it. The Rhode Island FSP, in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service, supports private forest landowners' efforts to manage, enjoy, and care for their land long-term. This program is designed to both recognize the public benefits of privately-owned working lands and good land management, and to help private landowners protect the ecosystem benefits and value of their forest.
Enrollment in the FSP requires a minimum property size of 10 acres and a Forest Stewardship Plan, prepared by a consulting forester. Foresters and the Care of Your Land explains what a forester is and the type of services they provide.
A Forest Stewardship Plan documents the forestland resources– including soil and water quality, wildlife habitat, timber value, and outdoor recreation – and recommends management activities based on landowner goals and priorities for the next 10 years. Implementing a Forest Stewardship Plan also allows landowners be eligible for participation in Rhode Island’s current use tax program, “The Farm, Forest, and Open Space Act”, which reduces property tax on forestland under active management. The FSP requires a review every 5 years to remain in the current use tax program, and a new/updated plan every 10 years.
Any non-industrial private forest landowners may participate in the Forest Stewardship Program. The minimum property size eligible is 10 contiguous acres, with a commitment to at least 10 years of active management and stewardship of that forestland. Enrollment in the program does not limit the use or sale of the property, and does not extend to future owners; a new owner must register for the program, if they choose, even if the property is enrolled under previous ownership.
The FSP is not a cost-share program. There is no financial assistance available through the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management / Division of Forest Environment. However, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offers financial assistance for Forest Stewardship Plan development and other forestry related activities through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). You can contact the Rhode Island NRCS office at 401-828-1300.
Contact Fern Graves at 401-539-2356, ext. 2, for program information.