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3 Things You Can and Can’t do in the Growing Mature Forests Program

Written by WoodsCamp
on August 03, 2021

Do you qualify for Growing Mature Forests? Wonderful! GMF provides funding to improve the overall health of your woodland, enhance wildlife habitat and water quality, and increase long-term timber value, all while getting paid to let your trees grow. Here are a few things you can and can't do while enrolled in GMF.


Three Things You Can Do While in Growing Mature Forests


1. Sustainably harvest

Harvesting is not required for this program. However, you can choose harvest up to 25% of the basal area of your enrolled woods. (Basal area is measured by your forester, and is the cross-sectional area of trees at breast height.)

Learn more about harvesting while in Growing Mature Forests » 


2. Sell your land

In short, the 20-year contract continues and goes with your land if you sell it or pass it on. The new owner may choose to take over the contract; if they choose not to, the original owner will pay back payments to date, plus interest, plus 27% of the sum of payments to date.

Learn more about the program requirements » 


3. See your land’s carbon flourishing

Okay, not literally, but you can see birds and wildlife thriving and your trees maturing over time. A healthy forest is a beautiful thing! 

Here's a deep dive on why carbon sequestration is important »


Three Things You Can’t Do While in Growing Mature Forests

1. Cut down all your trees while in the program

See #1 above. You can harvest a percentage of your woodland that’s enrolled in Growing Mature Forests — but major harvests can’t happen while in the program.

Learn more about harvesting while in Growing Mature Forests » 


2. Worry about your forest management plan

FFCP recently updated Growing Mature Forests to include a free forest management plan, provided by our staff, to guide you toward your goals for your land. You can optionally develop parts of your forest management plan on your own, such as background information and/or land mapping, but a forest professional will develop more technical information for you. Already have a forest professional who you'd like to use for your management plan? No problem — we'll provide a stipend for that.

Learn more about Forest Management Plans » 


3. Spend all your money in one place

Just kidding, it’s all yours to spend as you wish! Landowners in the Growing Mature Forests program have used their funds for everything from land improvements to covering their taxes and liability insurance. Total payments range between $100-230 per acre, and are dependent upon your woodland's size and area — a forest professional will calculate these factors in your forester visit. 

Curious where the funding comes from? The Family Forest Carbon Program is a partnership of two nonprofits, the American Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.

Learn more about the program » 



Did you also qualify for Enhancing Future Forests? Great! EFF is a program for landowners who are planning a regeneration harvest (such as an overstory removal, group selection, or shelterwood harvest) or have done one recently, and provides funding to remove invasive or other competing plants that prevent trees from growing back healthy. It is separate from Growing Mature Forests with unique requirements, funding, and qualifications. Learn more about Enhancing Future Forests here »

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