Forest Development Program
The Forest Development Program (FDP) is a reforestation, afforestation and forest stand improvement cost-sharing program run by the North Carolina Forest Service (NCFS). The goals of the program include timber production and the creation of the benefits associated with active forest management.
The FDP has been helping North Carolina landowners establish and manage their forests since 1977. During the vast majority of those years, the program was funded by assessments on the forest products industry as well as legislative appropriations. Generally speaking, private landowners in North Carolina are eligible to receive up to 100 acres of FDP costshare annually. Under the FDP, a landowner is partially reimbursed for the costs of site preparation, seedling purchases, tree planting, release of desirable seedlings from competing vegetation, or any other work needed to establish a new forest. Additional practices aimed at improving existing forests may also be costshared under the program.
To qualify for the FDP, a landowner must have a forest management plan approved by the NCFS. The management plan may be written by a NCFS forester or ranger, private consulting forester, natural resource professional, or even the landowner themselves. There are different qualification standards for upland and bottomland hardwood commercial species, southern yellow pine (including loblolly, longleaf, shortleaf and pond), eastern white pine and baldcypress and atlantic white cedar. Prevailing costshared rates (up to a cap) for FDP practices are specific to each of the NCFS's Districts.
A 2009 North Carolina Legislative Review of the Forest Development Program supported the continuation of the program. The review's extensive report and appendix highlight the accomplishments and benefits associated with this forest landowner assistance program.