N.C. Forest Service updates fees for woodland plans
The N.C. Forest Service’s updated fee schedule for woodland management plans recently took effect.
The updated fee structure allows certain types of woodland plans to be provided to landowners without a fee. These supplementary plans typically address single forestry practices, such as tree planting, thinning and prescribed burning on individual stands of trees.
Fees for comprehensive forest management and forest stewardship plans will have a flat charge of $5 per acre. Such plans are more detailed and often qualify the landowner for the state’s Forestry Present Use Valuation Program. Property tax savings from one year of participating in the PUV program can often offset the fee for the plan. Fees associated with woodland plan preparation may also be a deductible expense for tax purposes.
Under the previous fee schedule, the per acre fee was coupled with a $45 base fee per land parcel. The base fee has been eliminated.
“Ultimately, our goal is to provide the best service for landowners that we can, and these updated fees for woodland plans will be a lot easier for landowners to manage,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We think more landowners will take advantage of the financial and environmental benefits a woodland plan provides.”
The N.C. Board of Agriculture approved the update July 26, and the fees became effective Aug. 1. The N.C. Forest Service began charging fees for certain plans in 2014 at the direction of the General Assembly.
Woodland plans provide detailed forestry recommendations, but they can also advise landowners on wildlife habitat, soil and water protection, recreation opportunities, and insect and disease concerns. In addition, they can help qualify landowners for forestry recognition and certification programs.
Landowners interested in state or federal cost-share programs typically need an approved woodland plan. Participation in many of these programs results in a cost savings of 40 percent or more. Cost-share payments help to reduce the initial capital investment needed for many forestry projects, which leads to higher overall financial returns to the forestland owner.
Landowners interested in forestry advice and a woodland plan should contact their county ranger for details. Landowners also can call the N.C. Forest Service’s central office at 919-857-4801 for assistance.