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Forestry Legacy Program

Iowa’s forests provide clean water, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, jobs, forest products, and carbon storage. In Iowa, 85% of forestland is owned and managed by private landowners, many of whom face increasing pressure to convert their forest land to other uses.

The Forest Legacy Program (FLP) was established in 2001 for Iowa to identify and assist willing landowners with conserving Iowa’s most important forest areas that are threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. It’s a nationally competitive, federally funded conservation program

Iowa has 2,678 acres of Forest Legacy conservation easements on 11 properties enrolled within the Forest Legacy Program.


Program Goals

  • Protect environmentally important private forests that are threatened by conversion to non-forest uses, such as conversion to agriculture, gravel pits/ mining, and residential or commercial development
  • Protect Iowa’s publicly owned or permanently protected forested tracts from environmental threats caused by the development of nearby forest areas.
  • Prevent and reverse the fragmentation/ parcelization of Iowa’s contiguous forests by reconnecting parcels of land and keeping forests in contiguous parcels.
  • Preserve the beauty and public enjoyment of Iowa’s forested landscape.


Program Requirements

Forest Legacy is a voluntary program that pays owners of high-quality forestland to keep their forests from being developed and encourages sustainable forest management practices into perpetuity. 

Owners are able to continue activities that are consistent with traditional forest uses, including timber management, as well as hunting, fishing, hiking and similar recreational uses that do not change the essence of their property.

A Forest Stewardship plan is required for any property enrolled into Forest Legacy. Iowa DNR foresters are available to provide free assistance to landowners to write this plan, help ensure the landowners’ goals for the property are identified, and ensure the plan is updated at least once every 10 years. 



In exchange for limiting development of the property and placing a conservation easement that protects the forest resources into perpetuity, landowners receive a one-time financial payment (75% of the appraised value of their conservation easement).


Contact Information

Aron Flickinger
Forest Legacy Coordinator


How Do I Sign Up?

Please discuss your interest with the Forest Legacy Coordinator, Aron Flickinger before filling out the landowner application.