The Forest Conservation Easements for Land Trusts Program is a new public-private partnership funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund and administered by the Alliance, in coordination with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The program offers competitive matching grants to qualified New York land trusts to increase the pace of forested land conservation to combat climate changes.

According to the 2020 New York State Forest Action Plan, “Privately owned forestlands cover 13.62 million acres and represent 74 percent of New York’s forests. 10.2 million acres are considered family-owned or non-corporate forests. Nearly 700,000 private forest landowners provide the public with the benefits of clean air and water, carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, and a forest-based economy.” The plan identifies some of the biggest threats to keeping privately owned forests healthy and intact as follows: development pressure, inconsistent or lack of professional forest management practices, succession planning, and invasive pests which are often exacerbated by climate change and have the potential to devastate or completely wipe out entire tree species.

Land trusts are uniquely positioned to help private forest owners protect and manage their lands while also educating the public about the benefits of forest conservation to the environment and economy.

2023 grants

Now accepting applications for the 2023 New York State Forest Conservation Easements for Land Trusts Program

The Land Trust Alliance, with support from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Legislature, is pleased to announce a second round of competitive land trust grants through the New York State Forest Conservation Easements for Land Trusts Program.

This successful public-private partnership is funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund and administered by the Alliance, in coordination with the DEC.

Up to $1,350,000 is available through the 2023 grants round which will be awarded in the fall of 2023. Grant awards are contingent upon the receipt of state funds. 

All LOIs/preapplications must be completed through our online application and reporting system.

The deadline for LOIs/preapplications, May 11 by 5 p.m. Eastern.

Eligibility requirements

  • Applicant's service area includes the State of New York and project site is located within the State of New York. These funds are intended for projects and activities within the State of New York. 

  • Land Trust must be accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. However, applicants do not need to be members of the Land Trust Alliance to apply for or receive grant funding. Non-member land trusts are encouraged to learn more about the benefits of Land Trust Alliance membership.  

  • Projects must provide permanent protection via conservation easements consistent with the provisions of Environmental Conservation Law Article 49 that satisfy the minimum conservation easement requirements contained in the Term Sheet in Appendix C. The easement must explicitly run in perpetuity, and the land trust must be the intended long-term easement holder. The conservation easement must be registered with DEC. A Notice of Grant, Appendix F, must be attached to the final conservation easement as an exhibit. 

  • Forests (as defined in the Term Sheet in Appendix C) must cover at least 50% of the protected property. Lands used for agriculture cannot exceed 25% of the protected property.  Sustainable forest management must not be a prohibited use (although it may be prohibited on portions of the property, where appropriate). 

  • If timber harvests are permitted, they must be conducted pursuant to a forest management plan under the supervision of a qualified forester (as further described in the Term Sheet in Appendix C) and approved by the easement holder (except in limited cases for on-site uses of timber harvested from the protected property).  

  • Acquisitions must be able to close by the end of 2025. Only projects that have not yet closed prior to signature of the Grant Agreement are eligible. It is recommended projects do not close until all required pre-closing items on the Due Diligence Checklist in Appendix B are satisfied as failure to complete them may jeopardize awardee’s eligibility to receive grant funding. 

2022 grants

Announcing $1.35 million in grant awards

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced in October nearly $1.35 million in awards to four land trusts in the Capital Region and the Finger Lakes to help protect and preserve local forests. The awards were announced during a press conference at the Wiawaka Center for Women in Lake George, Warren County with the Land Trust Alliance and partners. Protecting forests from potential development and establishing new forested areas helps preserve biodiversity and safeguard the ecosystem benefits forests provide, such as storm water mitigation, temperature regulation, carbon sequestration and climate resiliency.

2022 resources

Current grantees can always access their account through our online Application and Reporting Portal.

Having trouble logging in or need to update organizational information? Please contact the Alliance’s New York Program Office, 518-587-0774.