Your Legacy

Caring for Your Land for the Next Generation

North Carolina forests provide cultural, natural, and economic values—all on the same acres. When forests are kept “working” they maintain the quality of life that North Carolinians enjoy. By focusing on multiple values of a forest, a woodland owner can manage for a range of benefits rather than seeking to maximize any one value alone.

Photo of NC Tree Farm Sign
  • The North Carolina Forest Stewardship Program is a cooperative effort to help owners realize the objective of managing their forests for the benefits they desire. The program is voluntary, and participants receive recognition for achievements in promoting total forest resource management.
  • In the North Carolina Tree Farm Program landowners manage their woodland for wood, water, wildlife, and recreation. Foresters from both the private and public sector are available to assist landowners.

Your land is valuable to you and your family. Taking care of your land now and for the future doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, forestry can become a rewarding venture for generations to come.


What is forest certification?

Forest certification identifies land that is managed with a goal of sustainability through third-party evaluation of the management of a particular forest.  Certification provides assurance that the benefits and functions of the forest, including clean air and water,wildlife and plant habitat, soil protection,recreation, and more, are enhanced or protected during management and harvesting. 


Certification programs available in North Carolina include: the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC),  and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)

How to get started making a legacy plan for my woodland property?

One important step in planning for your forest’s future is to determine what will happen to your land when you are no longer able to manage it. The Estate Planning for Forest Landowners book by the U.S. Forest Service offers guidelines and assistance to forest owners.  For more resources, visit NC Tree Farm's Long Term Planning.

How can a properly maintained forest produce clean water?

Forests function as an umbrella, filter, and sponge. When it rains, forest canopies help slow and guide rainfall as it falls to ground, preventing erosion. Forest soils then trap sediment, nutrients, and pollutants in the rainwater, preventing contamination to ground and surface water. Lastly, forests soak up and slowly release water over time, maintaining consistent stream flow and reducing flooding. 


Best Management Practices (BMPs) are the principal means by which water resources are protected during forest management. BMPs include methods, such as leaving a buffer zone of trees next to a stream, properly sizing and installing a culvert to cross a waterway and establishing grass on forest roads to prevent erosion, among others.  Learn more here.

Key Resources