- Report Published -
|Study on the Provision of Incentives to Preserve Forest Land in the Commonwealth |
|Board of Forestry|
|SJR 75 (Regular Session, 2004)|
|During the 2004 General Assembly, Senator Patricia Ticer, Fairfax, Virginia, introduced Senate Joint Resolution 75 (SJR 75) calling for a legislative study on... "incentives to private landowners to hold and preserve their forest land" and charged the Virginia Board of Forestry(BOF) with this study responsibility. As a part of SJR 75, the Board of Forestry is directed to ...."seek comments and recommendations from citizens across Virginia".|
Toward this end, the Board of Forestry (BOF) conducted eight public meetings across the state during the last half of July, 2004. In addition, a focus group met with participants from conservation groups and land trusts as well as other agency staff to evaluate the public comment and refine the recommendations. From August through November, 2004, the BOF met to further refine the recommendations. These recommendations and supporting statements are based on the core belief that forest land preservation and economic viability are inextricably linked. The BOF defines recommendations as requiring Legislative action. The BOF defines supporting statements as those programs or activities that need to be maintained and/or improved. Following is the BOF Recommendations and Supporting Statements stemming from the SJR 75 study efforts:
1. Institute a uniform statewide use-value taxation program.
2. Increase funding for the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation to conserve forest land.
3. Create a Governor's Commission on Forest Education and Outreach with the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry as lead.
4. Fully fund the Reforestation of Timberlands (RT) Program.
5. Provide funding for the Department of Forestry to initially create six forest conservationist positions within the Agency.
6. Utilizing the Senate Joint Resolution 75 framework, extend this study to consider developing a voluntary, statewide "forestland protection" program, study the Right to Practice Forestry law including local ordinances and their impact, financial and otherwise, on the non-industrial, private landowner's ability to manage their forestland and the hardwood resource. This further study will be for a period of one year.
1. Support the Right to Practice Forestry law.
2. Support the Purchase of Development Rights effort at the county level utilizing the Virginia Farmland Protection easement template.
3. Support the results of the Forest Economic Summit sponsored by the Secretariat of Commerce and Trade.
4. Support the repeal of state and federal inheritance tax associated with forestland preservation.
5. Support the current framework and payment structure of the Virginia Land Conservation Tax Credit Program.