Forestry Program Position Statement

The preferential taxation of forestland for conservation purposes is complex. If designed well, a new preferential tax program can benefit forests and water quality by broadening eligibility, decreasing forest conversion, and decreasing administrative costs for DEC. If designed poorly, a new preferential tax program can harm forests and water quality by increasing property taxes for forest landowners, increasing forest conversion, and decreasing forest regeneration. The Sustainable Forest Management Incentive Program (SFMIP) proposed by NYS DEC attempts to address this complexity. However, the proposed SFMIP raises more questions than it answers. The WAC Forestry Program cannot support this proposal without the rigorous analysis and stakeholder engagement that will begin to answer these questions. The needs of NY forests, forest landowners, municipalities, and NYS DEC must be balanced to create a new preferential tax program for forestland that is economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable.