Giving Texas Landowners a Hand

    Long-term care of private land is critically important to Texas. Sound management practices increase land productivity and enhance ecosystem services provided by forests. These critical benefits include clean air and water, improved wildlife habitat and additional opportunities for quality outdoor recreation. 
    Through the Forest Stewardship Program, Texas A&M Forest Service promotes land stewardship to landowners all over Texas—from the Pineywoods of East Texas to the West Texas Panhandle. As a landowner, professional assistance is tailored to your individual needs. 
    A written plan for your property is the foundation of good land stewardship. TFS foresters are available to help you develop a written 10-year course of action, outlining step-by-step measures that will enable you to meet the goals and objectives established for your property. 
    Working together, TFS and Texas landowners can move toward a brighter future with thriving forestlands, healthy economic rewards and sustained environmental benefits.





    East Texas

    As a private landowner in East Texas, you perhaps have the most to gain from the Forest Stewardship Program— and the most to lose if good land and timber management practices are not followed.

    While this region is heavily forested, 2.8 million acres of timberlands are under stocked. Similarly, on private family forestland, only 1 out of every 7 acres that is harvested is replanted. Technical assistance is readily available to help you get the most from your land. Call your local TFS office, seek advice and consultation from a professional forester, or view a list of land management vendors for help.

    Forest stewardship will pay dividends not only to you and the forest products industry, but to the overall environmental health of the region as well.


    Central Texas

    The Central Texas Hill Country has been named one of the world's "Last Great Places." Natural resources in this region are threatened by poor land management, fire exclusion, invasive species, oak wilt and rapid population growth.

    As a Texas landowner, you have the ability to conserve Central Texas trees and natural resources for future generations. TFS is available to help address your interests in trees, wildlife, recreation, water, as well as concerns about drought, wildfire, forest health and diseases such as oak wilt. Call your local TFS office, find a Central Texas Professional Land Management Service Provider, or view a list of Central Texas Vendors that provide land management services for more information.



    West Texas

    Every year, approximately 535 million tons of West Texas land literally blows away. Just one mile of windbreak trees can keep up to 2,800 tons of valuable soil on site. Windbreaks are essential in protecting farmland, livestock, homesteads and roadways from the harsh weather of the High Plains. They also provide crucial habitat for wildlife and enhance the value of your property.

    TFS foresters can provide invaluable assistance in designing a plan that fits your needs, covering topics such as proper site preparation, tree selection, placement and maintenance of windbreaks.


     + Landowner Plans
    A well-managed forest benefits not only your interests, but the environment as well. These lands provide for diverse wildlife, visual appeal, recreational enjoyment, clean water and increased forest productivity. 
    A written management plan is the foundation of forest stewardship and developing healthy and productive forestland. These plans enable you as the landowner to make informed decisions concerning the future of your property. 

    Professional foresters with TFS and other organizations (PDF, 66KB) are ready and willing to provide assistance in creating these plans. At your request, a professional forester will visit with you, tour your property and implement the following steps to develop your plan: 

    1. Identify your goals and objectives for the property
    2. Describe the current land condition as well as the future desired land condition
    3. Produce maps of the property delineating different forest, vegetation and soil types; topography; water resources; and other areas of interest
    4. Make management recommendations in support of your goals and objectives
    5. Generate a management activity schedule covering at least the next 10 years 


    Management plans generally include additional information on a wide variety of forest-related topics, including how to monitor your property for insects and disease, wildfire risk and wildlife. 
    While these plans are written to cover a 10 year period, they are designed to be very flexible based on the nature of the resource. Revisions may be warranted due to changes in your objectives, market conditions, management techniques or through uncontrollable circumstances such as a forest fire. Your plan can easily be revised in the future by contacting a professional forester. 


     + Awards

    As a landowner, you now have an opportunity to brag about the good things you are doing on your property. The Texas Excellence in Land Management, Certified Forest Steward and Lone Star Land Steward Awards recognize landowners who manage their property with conservation and stewardship as guiding principles. Award recipients may follow non-regulatory Best Management Practices, practice sustainable forestry, install food plots and implement other wildlife conservation practices.

    Texas Excellence in Land Management Award

    The Texas Excellence in Land Management Program (TXELM) identifies and rewards landowners across Texas who protect, conserve, and sustain trees and natural resources on their properties for generations to come. Though many landowners are good stewards, the TXELM award is presented to those landowners who have written, multiple-use plans and are implementing management activities based on recommendations from resource professionals.

    Texas Excellence in Land Management Program Guidelines

    Texas Excellence in Land Management Checklist

    Texas Excellence in Land Management Nomination Form

     TxELM Sign Website Image


    Certified Forest Steward Award

    The Texas Forest Stewardship Program recognizes good stewards of the land with the Certified Forest Steward award. This award is presented to any Texas landowner that owns at least 10 acres, has a written management plan and implements aspects of that plan. Recipients receive a metal sign for their property and a certificate signed by the State Forester.

    Certified Forest Steward Award Guidelines and Nomination Form (PDF, 22KB)


    Lone Star Land Steward Award

    The Lone Star Land Steward Award program recognizes and honors private landowners for their accomplishments in habitat management and wildlife conservation. Any landowner may be nominated; however, award recipients are selected by a review panel. Winners receive an invitation to the annual awards reception hosted by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Some of the past Lone Star Land Steward Award winners have also been Certified Forest Stewards.

    Lone Star Land Steward Awards Program Guidelines and Nomination Information


     + Financial Assistance Programs
    Financial assistance programs are sometimes available for landowners to help offset costs of implementing conservation practices that benefit the environment. Practices can include tree establishment, wildlife habitat improvement, and even insect, disease and invasive species management. Contact your local TFS office for current programs that may apply. A few of these programs are described below. 


    EQIP, USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service

    The Environmental Quality Incentives Program is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts up to a maximum term of ten years in length. These contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. In addition, a purpose of EQIP is to help producers meet federal, state, tribal and local environmental regulations. 


    Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

    The Partners Program provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners and tribes to help meet the habitat needs of migratory birds and rare, declining or protected plants and animals. Staff are available to assist private landowners with developing habitat improvement projects associated with imperiled ecosystems such as longleaf pine, bottomland hardwood, native prairies and riparian areas. 

    LIP, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
    The Texas Landowner Incentive Program is designed to meet the needs of private, non-federal landowners wishing to enact conservation practices on their land for the benefit of healthy, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. LIP focuses on projects aimed at enhancing habitat for migratory birds and species of greatest conservation need throughout the state. Projects that reduce soil erosion, restore and enhance native vegetation and restore proper functioning of rivers and creeks are targeted. 

    Texas Longleaf Conservation Assistance Program, Texas A&M Forest Service

    The Texas Longleaf Conservation Assistance Program provides both financial and technical assistance to eligible landowners for the establishment, enhancement and management of Longleaf Pine. For more information regarding eligibility and how to apply click here.


    Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program, Texas A&M Forest Service

    The Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program provides financial assistance funds for the first thinning of high hazard stands of pine pulpwood within 30 counties of East Texas. For questions of eligibility, contact your local TFS office.


    Oak Wilt Suppression Project, Texas A&M Forest Service

    The Texas Oak Wilt Suppression Project provides financial assistance to Central Texas landowners affected by oak wilt, a devastating disease of red oaks and live oaks caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagaceurum. Assistance, not to exceed 40 percent of the actual cost, is available to install a trench to halt the spread of expanding oak wilt centers and/or to remove oak wilt-infected red oaks. To apply or request assistance, contact your local TFS office.


    Joint Chief's Landscape Restoration Partnership, Texas A&M Forest Service

    The Joint Chief's Landscape Restoration Partnership leverages resources from USDA Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Wild Turkey Federation and Texas A&M Forest Service to reduce the wildfire threat and improve forest health and water quality on the Sam Houston National Forest and surrounding non-industrial private forests. For more information or to apply for assistance click here


    Neches River and Cypress Basin Watershed Restoration Program, Texas A&M Forest Service

    The Neches River and Cypress Basin Watershed Restoration Program leverages resources from US Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas A&M Forest Service. The program provides financial assistance to landowners utilizing prescribed fire for ecological improvement to the Neches River and Cypress Basin watersheds. This program benefits the public and natural resources through improving water quality and quantity, controlling invasive species, and enhancing wildlife habitat.  Eligible projects include private property in the Neches River and Cypress Basin Watersheds. Priority will be given to prescribed burn treatments that promote native ecosystem restoration, are in priority watershed protection zones and near public land. Grant recipients will be reimbursed actual per acre costs associated with conducting the prescribed burn, not to exceed the maximum reimbursement rate of $22.50 per acre with a total limit of 800 acres per recipient.