Benefits of participation in Forest Stewardship Program
Among the many benefits of participation are the availability of both technical and financial management assistance; environmentally responsible management of New Jersey's forest resources; active involvement in forest management; public recognition as a steward of the land; and the personal satisfaction of managing forest resources for present and future generations.
How much land do I need to enroll in the new Forest Stewardship Program?
You need a minimum of 5 acres of forest land or land capable of being a forest and scheduled to be forested. Land is forest land if it is a defined and continuous area of land that lies wholly within a property and has at least 10% canopy cover or is capable of achieving 10% canopy cover over the plan period.
If I participate in the program do I have to generate income to qualify for Farmland Assessment preferential tax benefits for my properties woodland?
No. the Farmland Assessment Act (NJSA 54:4-23.5.d) states that income requirements “shall not apply” to qualifying woodland. However, you must actively manage your forest every year according to an approved Forest Stewardship Plan and if you convert from a WMP to an FSP in one calendar year you will still need to generate income for the remainder of that year. The following calendar, you will not need to generate income.
If I join the Program but want to generate income from the sale of forest products, can I?
Yes, provided that the harvest of the forest products is provided for as an activity in the approved plan.
Do I have to be consistent in generating any income year after year?
No. What you must consistently do is manage your forest according to your approved plan and follow the activity schedule.
Must I monitor the progress made toward plan objectives? Record the values measured? Report the finding of the monitoring?
Yes. You must monitor the progress made toward each plan objective every three years, in plan years 3, 6, and 9 and record the values measured. The trend shown by these measurements will be a gauge of the success you are achieving through plan implementation. The values measured and the trends they show must be reported in your next plan, and they may help guide your decisions as to whether to continue with the same approach or to modify the approach in the successor plan, in the event the results do not turn out to be as intended.
Is record keeping required?
Yes, you must keep a record of the activities and prescriptions you carry out and the values you measure when you monitor, and be willing to allow the NJ Forest Service to examine these records when it inspects your property, if requested. Request that your forester provide a template in the plan for guidance on what information to collect and record.
What happens if the results of a prescription do not turn out the way intended?
That is acceptable so long as the result still provides the ecological services and fits into the overall goals the approved plan intended. However, this deviation needs to be recorded in the monitoring protocols and a plan amendment if necessary.
How extensive does the monitoring need to be:
Monitoring must be carried out for every objective in the plan. The monitoring method should be one that is both practical and fairly reflects the extent of the progress toward the objective. A few examples are:
Does the Forest Stewardship Program require a long-term commitment?
A Forest Stewardship Plan has a duration of 10 years.
How do I enroll?
Contact a NJ Approved Forester and / or a NJ Forest Service Regional Office for more information.
Is there a fee to enroll?
Do I need to update my existing Forest Stewardship Plan?
Not necessarily. Currently approved Forest Stewardship Plans and dual plans (FSP and Woodland Management Plans) will continue to be valid. But if you want to receive Farmland Assessment without having to satisfy an income requirement you will need to convert your current Forest Stewardship Plan to a plan that meets the criteria under N.J.A.C. 7:3-5.2.
Woodland Stewards Program
The New Jersey Woodland Stewards Program (NJ WSP) is an educational program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the New Jersey Forest Stewardship Program, State Forestry Services, and the New Jersey Forestry Association. The program is intended to encourage management of private forestland for non-commodity benefits, such as wildlife, recreation, aesthetics and water quality as well as traditional commodities like timber and wood products. Forest Stewardship promotes long-term active management while emphasizing consideration of all the forest resources and benefits.
Learn more about forest stewardship – become a woodland steward.