Estate planning program helps keep forestland in the family
Workshop helps forest owners pass their land to the next generation
Loss of forestland to commercial development is a problem in the U.S. It means not only loss of forests and their ecological benefits, but also loss of the land’s economic productivity, including associated jobs and payroll generation. One million acres of forestland were lost to development in the U.S. from 1992-97. Another 26 million acres are expected to disappear by 2030, including 2 million acres in the Pacific Northwest.
To slow this trend, the Oregon State University Extension Service, the Austin Family Business Program and the Oregon Forest Resources Institute created Ties to the Land, a DVD-based, facilitator-led workshop on succession planning for family forest landowners. More than 3,500 such owners have attended the workshops, including nearly 1,000 from Oregon. During the training, they receive a workbook to take home and use with their families. People can also order the book online. About 50 are sold that way each year.
Succession planning is an important topic given that death is one of the major driving forces behind loss of forestland to other uses. Half of Oregon’s family forest owners are over the age of 65.
Twelve other states have adopted the Ties to the Land program.
Source: Mary Sisock, director of Ties to the Land.