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.
Money back for developing your Forest Stewardship Plan
The New Jersey Forest Service will refund landowners up to 75% for the cost of a new or revised Forest Management Plan to help meet the criteria necessary to participate in the state's Forest Stewardship Program. Landowners with 5 or more forested acres that are planning to have a professional forester manage their woodlands are eligible to participate in the state's Forest Stewardship Program and receive a partial refund for the cost of developing a forest stewardship management plan. Landowners whose woodlands are Farmland Assessed and wish to revise an existing forest management plan are eligible for a rebate as well. Funds are limited. Call your Regional Forester to learn more about the many benefits of the Forest Stewardship Program.
Benefits of participation in FSP
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.
NJ Forest Stewardship Committee
Under the direction of the State Forester, the NJ Forest Stewardship Committee maintains a state master plan and meets regularly to oversee and manage all aspects of the program. The committee includes representatives from the following natural resource agencies, organizations and professionals: The NJ Forest Service; Rutgers Cooperative Extension; USDA Forest Service; USDA Farm Service Agency; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; NJ State Soil Conservation Committee; Soil Conservation Districts; NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife; US Fish and Wildlife Service; NJ Audubon Society; NJ Forestry Association; NJ Consulting Foresters; NJ Conservation Foundation; and NJ Tree Farm Program. Each year, the committee chooses an Outstanding Forest Steward of the Year and a Tree Farmer of the Year who show exemplary forest management.
Forest Stewardship Program FAQ
• Am I required to manage for timber or wood products to participate in FSP?
NO, not if timber products or income from timber products are not primary management objectives.
• Does FSP require a long term commitment?
Landowners are asked to maintain cost-shared funded practices for 10 years. In addition, it is agreed that the 10-year Forest Stewardship Plan be implemented to the best of the landowner's ability.
• What happens if I am in the program and sell my land before the 10 years expire?
If the property is sold and the new landowner agrees to follow the FSP plan and continue to maintain stewardship practices, no penalties will be incurred by the original owner. If land use changes, however, the original landowner may be responsible for repaying all cost-share funds received during enrollment in the program.
• Can I participate in both the FSP and the NJ Tree Farm Program? Yes. The NJ Tree Farm Program requires a minimum of 10 acres of woodland, and the production of traditional forest products as a primary management objective.
• How do I know if I am eligible to participate in the Forest Stewardship Program?
Nonindustrial private woodland owners who own 5 acres or more of qualifying land are eligible to participate. Qualifying land is rural land with existing tree cover or other woody vegetation, or land suitable for growing such vegetation, that is owned by an individual, group, association, corporation or other legal private entity.
• How do I enroll?
Contact your local New Jersey Forest Service Regional Forester.
• Will my current forest management plan qualify me for enrollment in NJ's FSP?
It might. By contacting your local regional forester or your consulting forester you can determine if any changes or additions need to be made to an existing forest management plan to qualify for enrollment. In most cases, only minor additions are needed to the plan.
• Can my consulting forester qualify me for FSP enrollment?
Yes. Any consulting forester or other natural resource management professional can develop a forest stewardship management plan to qualify a landowner for enrollment. In fact, there are many consultants who attend regularly scheduled FSP programs to stay up-to-date on the latest program changes and requirements.
• Because this is a federally funded state program, do I have to open my property to the public if I enroll?
No. You are not obligated to open your property to the public.
• How does enrollment in the FSP affect my Farmland Assessment (FLA)?
FLA and FSP are separate programs. As long as the criteria for each program are met, enrollment in FSP should not affect FLA. Cost-sharing received through FLEP for management practices can, in most cases, be combined with other management revenues to meet the income requirements of FLA.
• What is FLEP?
The Forest Land Enhancement Program (FLEP) is a cost-share program. The cost-share funds available through FLEP are intended as incentives to encourage private landowners to be good land stewards and actively manage their woodlands for a wide variety of objectives.
• What are some examples of FLEP technical practices that are eligible for cost-sharing?
Many on-the-ground practices are available for cost-sharing through FLEP. Some of the more commonly used practices are: forest stewardship plan development, site preparation, tree planting and tree shelters, forest stand improvement (FSI), and wildlife habitat enhancement.
• Where can I get technical assistance?
Depending on your objectives and needs, technical assistance can be obtained through the following organizations: NJ Forest Service; NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; US Fish and Wildlife Service and professional management consultants.