The Secretary, in consultation with State foresters or equivalent State officials, shall establish a Forest Stewardship Program (hereafter referred to in this section as the "Program") to encourage the long-term stewardship of nonindustrial private forest lands by assisting owners of such lands to more actively manage their forest and related resources by utilizing existing State, Federal, and private sector resource management expertise and assistance programs.
The goal of the Program shall be to enter at least 25,000,000 acres of nonindustrial private forest lands in the Program by December 31, 1995.
(c) "Nonindustrial private forest lands" defined
For the purposes of this section, the term "nonindustrial private forest lands" means rural, as determined by the Secretary, lands with existing tree cover, or suitable for growing trees, and owned by any private individual, group, association, corporation, Indian tribe, or other private legal entity.
In carrying out the Program the Secretary, in consultation with State foresters or equivalent State officials, shall provide financial, technical, educational, and related assistance to State foresters or equivalent State officials, including assistance to help such State foresters or equivalent officials to provide financial assistance to other State and local natural resource entities, both public and private, and land-grant universities for the delivery of information and professional assistance to owners of nonindustrial private forest lands. Such information and assistance shall be directed to help such owners understand and evaluate alternative actions they might take, including—
(1) managing and enhancing the productivity of timber, fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, wetlands, recreational resources, and the aesthetic value of forest lands;
(2) investing in practices to protect, maintain, and enhance the resources identified in paragraph (1);
(3) ensuring that afforestation, reforestation, improvement of poorly stocked stands, timber stand improvement, practices necessary to improve seedling growth and survival, and growth enhancement practices occur where needed to enhance and sustain the long-term productivity of timber and nontimber forest resources to help meet future public demand for all forest resources and provide the environmental benefits that result; and
(4) protecting their forests from damage caused by fire, insects, disease, and damaging weather.
All nonindustrial private forest lands that are not in management under Federal, State, or private sector financial and technical assistance programs existing on November 28, 1990, are eligible for assistance under the Program. Nonindustrial private forest lands that are managed under such existing programs are eligible for assistance under the Program if forest management activities are expanded and enhanced and the landowner agrees to meet the requirements of this chapter.
(f) Duties of owners
To enter forest land into the Program, landowners shall—
(1) prepare and submit to the State forester or equivalent State official a forest stewardship plan that meets the requirements of this section and that—
(A) is prepared by a professional resource manager;
(B) identifies and describes actions to be taken by the landowner to protect soil, water, range, aesthetic quality, recreation, timber, water, and fish and wildlife resources on such land in a manner that is compatible with the objectives of the landowner; and
(C) is approved by the State forester, or equivalent State official; and
(2) agree that all activities conducted on such land shall be consistent with the stewardship plan.
(g) Stewardship recognition
The Secretary, in consultation with State foresters or equivalent State officials, is encouraged to develop an appropriate recognition program for landowners who practice stewardship management on their lands, with an appropriate, special recognition symbol and title.
(h) Authorization of appropriations
There are hereby authorized to be appropriated $25,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 1991 through 1995, and such sums as may be necessary thereafter, to carry out this section.
1991—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 102–237 substituted "State foresters" for "State Foresters" wherever appearing in introductory provisions.