Alabama Forestry Legacy Program

Coon Gulf ImageOf Alabama's 22.9 million acres of forestland, about 95 percent is privately owned. Many of these private forests, containing many resources and managed for multiple objectives, are being developed for housing, retail and manufacturing as the state's population continues to grow. Alabama's population increased by more than eight percent in the 1990s to 4.45 million people, and is projected to continue to increase. Although recent data shows an overall increase of forested area, the conversion of large areas of Alabama's forests, including some of our more environmentally important forests, will continue as the state's population increases.

In 2000 the Governor appointed the Alabama Forestry Commission as the state lead agency to develop and administer a Forest Legacy Program in Alabama. The purpose of the Forest Legacy Program (FLP) is to identify and purchase environmentally important forestland through the use of conservation easements and fee purchases. Landowner participation is entirely voluntary. As these resources are managed, many traditional values and uses of the forests will continue to be available.

Guidelines for the Forest Legacy Program required the state lead agency to prepare an Assessment of Need (AON) in consultation with the Alabama Forest Stewardship Advisory Committee. An Assessment of Need Steering Committee was appointed, which worked with the Alabama Forest Resource Center to develop the Assessment of Need document. The AON was completed in September, 2002, and contains valuable resource information and measures to identify environmentally important forestlands that are being converted to developed urban areas.

The following program objectives were established to achieve the overall goal of protecting environmentally important private forestlands in Alabama threatened by conversion to non-forest uses:

• Prevent conversions of forestlands to other uses.
• Preserve and protect fish and wildlife habitats, significant natural communities, and biological diversity.
• Preserve and protect riparian habitats.
• Preserve and protect water quality, fisheries, and water supplies.
• Preserve and protect natural beauty.
• Preserve and protect forest-based recreation opportunities.
• Preserve forestlands for current and future timber production.

Forest Legacy Accomplishments: AON Cover ImageThe Assessment of Need is a 4.8 mb file that may take several minutes to download.  Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader 5 or Higher.
  • FY02: $500,000 awarded for Coon Gulf (Dickson) property. Property purchased in FY03.
  • FY05: $1,183,000 awarded for Mobile-Tensaw Delta (Bayou Sara) & $1,183,000 awarded for Cumberland Mountains Preserve.