Healthy Forests Reserve Program - How to Apply and Benefits
The purpose of the Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP) is to assist landowners, on a voluntary basis, in restoring, enhancing and protecting forestland resources on private lands through easements, 30-year contracts and 10-year cost-share agreements.
The objectives of HRFP are to:
- Promote the recovery of endangered and threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA);
- Improve plant and animal biodiversity; and
- enhance carbon sequestration.
The HFRP was signed into law as part of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 and has been amended in subsequent Farm Bills.
Restoring and protecting forests contribute to the economy, provides biodiversity of plants and animal populations, and improves environmental quality.
Landowner protections will be made available to landowners enrolled in HFRP who agree, for a specified period, to restore or improve their land for threatened or endangered species habitat. In exchange they avoid certain regulatory restrictions under the Endangered Species Act on the use of that land.
The HFRP provides financial assistance in the form of easement payments and cost-share for specific conservation actions completed by the landowner.
The program offers four enrollment options:
- 10-year restoration cost-share agreement for which the landowner may receive 50 percent of the average cost of approved conservation practices,
- 30-year easement for which the landowner may receive 75 percent of the easement value of the enrolled land plus 75 percent of the average cost of approved conservation practices,
- 30-year contract on acreage owned by Indian Tribes, or
- permanent easements for which landowners may receive 100 percent of the easement value of the enrolled land plus 100 percent the average cost of approved conservation practices.
To be eligible for enrollment, land must be privately owned or owned by Indian tribes and restore, enhance, or measurably increase the recovery of threatened or endangered species, improve biological diversity, or increase carbon storage.