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The Forest Stewardship & Forest Land
Enhancement Programs  

"An Innovative Assistance Program For Michigan Landowners."

Help For Private Landowners

The Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) and the Forest Land Enhancement programs (FLEP) were created to stimulate management of private lands through cost-sharing on approved practices. While authorization of these programs comes through the Forestry Title of the 1990 Farm Bill, funding varies yearly based on Congressional budget allocations. There are leadership responsibilities for the FSP and FLEP at the national level, but there is tremendous flexibility within each state to implement the programs. In Michigan, natural resource professionals, Farm Services Agency (FSA), consulting foresters and other state specialists ultimately are responsible for administering and coordinating the programs on the ground.

Forest Stewardship and Forest Land Enhancement Program – What’s The Difference

The Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) is designed to encourage the active management of all resources on forest land. The Forest Stewardship Program is aimed at developing multiple resource management on privately owned lands. The Forest Land Enhancement Program provides financial assistance for specific forest and wildlife practices. They are separate but complementary programs.

Forest Stewardship funds may pay up to 50% of the cost of developing a management plan. The cost of a forest stewardship plan is $1.25 per Acre plus $300.00.  For example, a 80 acre forest plan would cost the landowner only $400.00.  This is a small price to pay for a professionally developed long-term forest plan which provides the landowner the knowledge to improve his or hers forest resources.  In addition, FLEP reimburses, or cost-shares up to 65% of the cost of designated management practices up to specified maximums. FLEP offers a wider array of cost-share practices than any other forestry incentive program. It provides a source of financial assistance never before available to manage the broad range of forest resources that today’s landowners are interested in.

Forest Stewardship and Forest Land Enhancement Eligibility Requirements

Forest Stewardship landowners must own at least 12 contiguous acres of land, 5 of which must be forested or soon to be forested. The land is classified as non-industrial, private lands. Lands must be owned by a private individual, group, association, non publicly traded corporation, Indian tribe or other legal entity.

Forest Land Enhancement landowners can have less than 12 contiguous acre but must have a minimum of 5 forested acre or land soon to be forested.

Forest Land Enhancement Cost Sharable Practices Are:

1.     FLEP 1:  Forest Stewardship Plan Development

This is the first step before a landowner may qualify for any other FLEP practices. It documents landowner’s goals and objectives and recommends management practices which do not destroy or diminish the land’s productivity. This plan is responsive to landowner objectives, is action and multiple resource oriented and is multi-disciplinary in scope. It is developed by a certified resource professional and written for a ten-year time frame. A landowner need not apply for any other practices in order to qualify for a management plan. Note: Before landowners can sign up for FLEP practices 2 through 8, they must have an approved Forest Stewardship or Forest Land Enhancement Plan.

2.     FLEP 2: Afforestation & Reforestation

For the purpose of establishing a stand of forest trees for conservation and timber production.  Authorized practices may include the following; purchase and installation of plant materials: site preparation; planting; control of competing vegetation; tree shelters; weed barriers; mulch; animal repellents and fencing. Not eligible are trees planted for nursery crops, Christmas trees or commercial fruit production.  Eligible tree seedling species are ash, black cherry, sugar maple, oak, black walnut, red pine, white pine, jack pine, norway spruce, black spruce and white spruce.

3.     FLEP 3: Forest Stand Improvement

For the purpose to enhance the growth and quality of wood fiber, improve forest health, special forest products and carbon sequestration.  Authorized practices may include release of desirable tree species, tree marking for noncommercial thinnings, removal of competing vines, marking and pruning of trees.

4.     FLEP 4: Agro-forestry

Currently, NO practices are offered.

5.     FLEP 5: Water Quality Improvement and Watershed Protection

For the purpose of improving water quality on forestlands, improving soil productivity, preventing erosion, improving and restoring wetlands and riparian areas and reducing streambank degradation.  Authorized practices include seeding of roads and landings, BMP design and layout, installation of water diversions and culverts, fertilizer and mulch.  Streambank stabilization with vegetative cover.

6.     FLEP 6: Fish & Wildlife Habitat Improvement

For the purpose of establishing, maintaining and restoring habitat for wildlife species associated with forested communities and rare native flora and fauna and their unique forest habitats and communities.  Authorized practices include creation of wildlife openings, noncommercial forest thinnings and clearcuts for wildlife, planting of wildlife corridors, shrub plantings, establishing mesic conifer communities, tree shelters, weed barriers, and fertilizer.     

7.     FLEP 7: Forest Health and Protection

For the purpose of monitoring, assessing and suppressing certain forest pests and diseases, specifically oak wilt, to sanitize disease ridden stands, to ameliorate the effects of invasive exotic pests and diseases, specifically beech bark disease and emerald ash borer.  Authorized practices are layout of plow lines to sever root grafts of oak wilt control, installation of plow lines, removal of infected oak trees and the noncommercial mechanical removal or clearing of pest/disease infested Scotch pine stands.    

8.     FLEP 8: Invasive Species Control

For the purpose to detect, monitor, eradicate or control the spread of invasive plant species on forest lands and lands capable of growing trees, to establish maintain or restore native vegetation to suppress, control or eradicate invasive plant species, to educate landowners on invasive plant I.D. and management issues.  Authorized practices are the removal of woody or herbaceous “actionable” species and establishing of native shrubs and trees.      

9.     FLEP 9: Wildfire and Catastrophic Risk Reduction

Currently, NO practices are offered.  

10.  FLEP 10: Wildfire and Catastrophic Event Rehabilitation

For the purpose to restore or rehabilitate native forest stands damaged by wildlife, storms or insect and disease infestations.  Authorized practices are the purchase of plant material, installation, site preparation, erosion control methods, tree protection, weed barriers and erosion control measures.      

Landowners enrolled in FLEP may still qualify for other incentive programs such as Conservation Reserve (CRP), Agricultural Conservation (ACP), and forestry incentive program (FIP), provided that they meet all the requirements under each program. Check with your local FSA office or Forest Stewardship Plan writer.

FSP Limitations

Cost sharing payments are limited to forested ownerships no larger than 1,000 acres in size. In certain case exceptions may be give for up to 5,000 acres. SIP payments will not exceed $10,000 per owner per year. Landowners must maintain and protect SIP-funded practices for at least 10 years. Cost share activities must be completed with 18 months of approval.

To Sign Up for FSP and FLEP

If you are ready to enroll in the Program, please contact us at (906) 786-3488 or send an email.

On-line Forest Stewardship forms are available at the following links:

PR4061_Michigan_Forest_Stewardship_Assesment

PR4065-3_LandownerForestStewardshipPlanEligibilityApplAndInvoice

 



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1705 4th Avenue North - Escanaba, MI 49829
Phone: (906) 786-3488 - Fax: (906) 233-9548


Dean R. Francis - dean@michiganforesters.com
James T. Green - todd@michiganforesters.com