Landowner Resources

Stewarding lands to reach their optimal ecological potential is essential to Winnakee’s long term conservation strategy.  Winnkaee is here to help provide landowners with resources to maximize the resiliency of their land, increase biodiversity, restore rare species habitats, control harmful invasives, and become part of globally important connective land corridors that secure pathways for many species survival.

Do you own a woodland?

Whether you have “just trees” that shelter native plants and animals, a bit of “woods” behind your house where the kids play and you cut firewood, or a “tree farm” that earns your family income, you are a forest owner. Owning forestland in New York State is an exciting but challenging undertaking. Consequently, many forest owners need help with the management of their holdings and are interested in knowing the people and organizations that are available to assist them. Ownership of forest land can provide numerous benefits such as revenue, wildlife habitat improvements, and recreation. However, ownership also carries costs and responsibilities that may require assistance from others as well as opportunities to enhance the conservation value of your land.

What landowner assistance information and tools are available?

Help is available to answer these and other forest management questions. This page lists an overview of the major public and private organizations that offer assistance to New York forest owners and outlines the services performed by these organizations.

If you or your family is considering a land legacy to ensure your property is forever protected and stewarded by an accredited land trust, Winnakee is also here to help.

Public Agencies and Institutions

Forest Connect

The CCE Forest Connect Forestry Internet Seminar Series uses web conferencing technology to provide research-based and unbiased information to forest owners and others interested in private forest lands management.

Broadcasts occur on the third Wednesday of each month, once at noon and a repeat live broadcast at 7:00 PM, Eastern time. Each broadcast is scheduled to run an hour, although questions and answers may take additional time. The noon broadcast’s are archived and may be viewed at:

There is no charge for participation in the live webinars, but subscribing to the webinar e-list is required. Email communication with URL details is only sent to people who have registered. Connection details are sent about two days before the webinars. To subscribe, send an e-mail to: with the following in the subject line: “Subscribe ForestConnect Webinar E-list”

Master Forest Owner Program

Master Forest Owners are volunteer landowners. They receive training from Cornell University, then use that knowledge and their own experiences to visit other landowners and offer advice. For more information, or to become an MFO volunteer, see

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

To foster public awareness and appreciation for forest stewardship and the contribution forests make to  

  • Division of Lands and Forests
    • Bureau of Private Forest Management –
      • In accordance with the New York Cooperative Forest Management Act, State Service Foresters will provide on-site assistance with forest management (advice and planning), establishment of forest plantations, care of immature stands, and, provide advice on the marketing of timber products.
  • The Bureau also sponsors the NYS Cooperating Forester Program (private foresters can provide extensive individual services, adhere to the NYS forestry best management practices (BMP) and adhere to the Society of American Foresters Code of Ethics) and the NYS Cooperating Timber Harvester Program. Learn more at

is responsible for monitoring the ecological health and function of all of the forests of New York State. The highest priority is placed on early detection of and rapid response to high-impact invasive species that may threaten the health of our forests.

  • Division of Environmental Permits

Wondering whether a permit is required for a particular activity? These pages provide an extensive list of permit categories and requirements:

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

SUNY-ESF ( offers curricula leading to various professional degrees, such as forestry, environmental and forest biology, forest engineering, and forest technology. The College communicates environmental and forestry knowledge to a variety of off-campus clientele, including forest-related businesses, industries, and landowners through its public service programs. These programs include continuing education, conferences, and extension. “Going Green” is a video series devoted to environmental problem solving produced by YNN News in collaboration with ESF

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the State of New York are partners in implementing a voluntary Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) to enroll up to 40,000 acres of agricultural land to improve water quality, reduce soil erosion, reduce the amount of sediment, phosphorous and other pollutants entering waterbodies, improve wildlife habitat and restore wetlands.

Misc. USFS Publications of General Interest:

  • Estate Planning for Forest Landowners: What Will Become of Your Timberland? provides a working knowledge of the Federal estate and gift tax law as it relates to estate planning for woodlands. The publication can be downloaded at:
  • Forest Insect and Disease Leaflets (FIDLs)

The Forest Insect and Disease Leaflet (FIDL) series includes over 180 leaflets, produced under the auspices of the US Forest Service Forest Health staff and state partners.

  • National Timber Tax Website provides links to a collection of documents published by the Forest Service. It includes previous versions of the “Annual Tax Tips for Forest Landowners” as well as other publications related to the tax treatment of timber and timberland
  • Profitable Farms and Woodlands is a practical guide in agroforestry for farmers, ranchers and landowners. You can download the publication at:
  • For those more technically inclined:

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

NRCS conservationists provide technical expertise and conservation planning for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners wanting to make conservation improvements to their land. The NRCS works closely with the County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (located at most NRCS offices) which in some cases offer technical forest management services under the direction of NYS DEC foresters. NRCS also administers a variety of programs where farmers and forest landowners can receive financial assistance from to make improvements to their land.

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits. Under the Agricultural Land Easements component, NRCS helps Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land.  Under the Wetlands Reserve Easements component, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private landowners and Indian tribes to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands through the purchase of a wetland reserve easement. To learn more visit

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is the largest conservation program in the United States.  CSP offers an opportunity for forestland owners to earn CSP payments for conservation performance—the higher the performance, the higher the payment. You can learn more at

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers and family forest owners to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, increased soil health and reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, improved or created wildlife habitat, and mitigation against drought and increasing weather volatility. You can learn more about the program by visiting

Private Organization

American Forest Foundation (AFF)

American Forest Foundation (AFF)

The Foundation’s core programs – Project Learning Tree and the American Tree Farm System – are directed at two groups which share extraordinary influence over the quality of our environment: young people and the 7 million landowners who own more than half of the nation’s productive forestland:

  • Project Learning Tree ( is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12.

Volunteer public and private foresters conduct field inspections with potential Tree Farmers prior to certification to ensure that proper management activities are being practiced on the woodlot. Non-practicing landowners may qualify as Tree Farmers once management activities take place. Tree Farms are inspected every 5 years to ensure that the management program is ongoing. The American Tree Farmer is published six times a year for Tree Farm members. Other publications related to Tree Farm activities are available upon request. The Tree Farm System is sponsored by the American Forest Foundation and cosponsors for the Tree Farm Program are Empire State Forest Products Assoc., NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, & New York Forest Owners Association.

Arbor Day Foundation

Arbor Day Foundation

Need to identify a tree? Use the Arbor Day Foundation’s What Tree is That? tree identification tool.

Their Backyard Woods Guide is designed to help owners of 1 -10 acres of woodland.

National Woodland Owners Association

National Woodland Owners Association

NWOA is the largest family woodland owner association in America, representing 11 million family woodland owners who own and manage half of all forested landscapes in America.

Through educational publications, networking, and policy engagement, NWOA keeps America’s family forest landowners viable and able to independently manage their woodlands according to their needs and goals. NWOA publishes National Woodlands Magazine featuring original articles and regular columns such as Woodland Report (late breaking news from Washington DC and the states), Conservation News Digest, Timber Tax News you Can Use, and Lessons From the Woods. Additional information is available for download.

New York Forest Owner’s Association

New York Forest Owner’s Association

NYFOA was founded in 1963 to promote sustainable forestry practices and improved stewardship on privately owned woodlands in New York State. NYFOA is a not-for-profit group of people who care about NYS trees and forests and are interested in the thoughtful management of private forests for the benefit of current and future generations.

Through local chapter and statewide activities such as woods walks and tours, the bi-monthly New York Forest Owner magazine, and affiliation with other organizations with similar objectives, NYFOA helps woodland owners to achieve their management objectives for their properties and encourages the appreciation of the qualities and importance of New York’s forests.

Society of American Foresters

Society of American Foresters Certified Forester Program

SAF is the largest national scientific and educational organization representing the forestry profession in the United States. SAF members include forestry and natural resource professionals, who work in public agencies (state and federal) and private businesses (corporate and consulting). Members are also involved with research, education, public relations, policy, and more. SAF is committed to educating natural resource professionals through peer-reviewed scientific publications, workshops and training sessions, continuing education opportunities, and credentialing. SAF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Before you make any decisions regarding your land, get the information you need to make an informed decision—contact a Certified Forester. The Certified Forester program ensures that professionals:

  • Meet the profession’s educational requirements
  • Have at least five years of professional forestry experience
  • Adhere to standards of professional practice
  • Pass a rigorous competency exam that measures knowledge and skills
  • Participate in continuing education


Wildspotter – Invasive Species – Detecting and Reporting

You can help find, map, and prevent invasive species in America’s wilderness areas, wild rivers, and other natural areas

Women Owning Woodlands

Women Owning Woodlands is a collaborative project of the National Woodland Owners Association (NWOA) and the USDA Forest Service, Cooperative Forestry Office.

The Women Owning Woodlands Network (WOWNet) is a diverse, enthusiastic, group of women who are interested in woodland management.

WOWNet allows women to come together to:

  • Learn about forest management
  • Share their forestry and natural resources experiences
  • Exchange personal knowledge in a unique peer-to-peer learning environment.

The group’s publication “Women on the Land” provides background information on forest ecology so that women can connect with other landowners and natural resource professionals with vocabulary and concepts that are critical to communicating different stewardship strategies. The publication guides women to think through their goals for their land and decide if active, passive, or a combination of the two approaches makes sense for them and their land. Some common active stewardship options are outlined as well as a section about working with professionals, the financials of woodland ownership, and planning the future of their land. In addition, there are seven landowner case studies that share the joys and challenges of land ownership throughout the eastern region. A pdf of the publication can be downloaded here:

USDA Plants

USDA PLANTS (Plant List of Accepted Nomenclature, Taxonomy, and Symbols) Database

The USDA PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories.

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