Forest Legacy Program Protects Oregon’s Forest Lands

Funding opportunities help land trusts

Oregon is home to some of the world’s most productive forests. From the large swaths of Douglas fir in the Coast Range and West Cascades to the tall ponderosa pines of the East Cascades and Blue Mountains, our forests provide critical habitat for wildlife, offer recreation for people, support local economies, protect community drinking water, and enhance our resilience to climate change.

Protecting our forests from fragmentation and conversion is a key strategy to maintaining habitat and mitigating climate change, and the Forest Legacy Program is a critical tool for achieving those outcomes. Funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund and administered in partnership with the Oregon Department of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service, the goal of the Forest Legacy program is to protect private forest lands through conservation easements and land purchases. 

Forest Legacy Funding & Timelines

The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act provided an additional $700 million for the Forest Legacy Program. The Oregon Department of Forestry is running a parallel application process for the Inflation Reduction Act and annual LWCF Forest Legacy Funding cycle. 

LWCF Forest Legacy Funding 

Each year, the Oregon Department of Forestry solicits applications from eligible entities through a competitive, merit-based project selection process coordinated through the U.S. Forest Service. In the FY2025 Forest Legacy process, states could submit up to three new projects for consideration, not to exceed a total of $20 million in funding requested. 

Forest Legacy projects must be located within a Forest Legacy area and meet goals within Oregon’s Forest Action Plan. In addition, projects must be at least 75% forested, privately-owned, and be sponsored by a state agency, land trust, or conservation organization.

Resources & Additional Information  

Applications are due to ODF by June 28, 2024 

Inflation Reduction Act Funding 

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) released the FY24 Inflation Reduction Funding application in February of 2024. States can submit up to five (5) projects in each round for funding consideration within the following project types: 

  • Large Landscape Projects (1): High impact, readiness, and capacity. Supports national goals of climate resilience, carbon sequestration, habitat connectivity, and/or benefits to disadvantaged communities. 
  • State-Tribal Partnership Projects (1): Support protection of Tribal cultural values, includes and supports meaningful and long-term Tribal partnerships and engagement. 
  • Strategic Small Tract Projects (3): High strategic value, allows public access, and supports national goals outlined above. 

Resources & Additional Information

Applications were due to ODF by March 22, 2024. Check back for additional funding opportunities through IRA in fall of 2024.


Land Trusts 

Land trusts are important partners in implementing the Forest Legacy program. They bring real estate and fundraising expertise to support communities in buying land and forest conservation easements. Land trusts work with private landowners and the Oregon Department of Forestry to bring forth competitive projects each year to protect our working forests. 

Karsyn Kendrick

Karsyn Kendrick

Karsyn is COLT's Conservation Program Manager.

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