The Texas Climate-Smart Initiative is a 5-year financial incentives program made possible by the USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant. The incentives program provides funds to non-industrial, private, small-acreage landowners to conduct science-based, Carbon-Focused Forest (CFF) management practices to establish new forest stands, improve the health and vigor of existing stands, and/or encourage holistic forest management upon the landscape. 

    The term climate-smart commodity refers to an agricultural commodity that is produced using farming practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon. Sustainable forest management is climate-smart, but there is always room for improvement. CFF focuses specifically on those improvements required to maximize carbon capture while, at the same time, producing quality wood fiber for the timber industry. This program serves as a financial incentive to landowners to implement the below CFF practices at the stated reimbursement rates.

    Enrollment is currently open for 2024, and will remain open until the financial incentives program is terminated in 2027 or until funds are depleted. 


     + General Terms and Conditions
    • Understand that this is a reimbursement program and that all parties involved are to be aware of the funding levels for the applied practice.
    • Be a private, non-industrial, small-parcel landowner with a total treatment area between 15 and 125 acres in East Texas. Priority will be given to small-acreage landowners with a total ownership of 50 acres or less.
    • Work directly with a Texas A&M Forest Service forester and a consulting forester.
    • Conduct forest management activities in accordance with Texas Best Management Practices.
    • Agree to maintain the treatment area for a period of at least five years.
    • Submit a Forest Stewardship Plan and a treatment plan (using the TCSI template) that clearly identifies how carbon-focused specifications will be used.
    • Understand that a participant of this program cannot participate in other state or federal cost-share programs for the same practice on the same piece of property.
    • Understand that funded practices must be completed within 12 months from the date of being approved.
    • Allow pre- and post-treatment forest health measurements to be taken on treatment area.

    Click here for eligible priority counties. 

     + Stand Establishment | $600/acre

    Stand Establishment includes the prompt ordering, careful delivery and storage, and proper planting of tree seedlings. It also includes all of the necessary site preparation, early post-planting treatments, and other cultural activities required to successfully establish a fully stocked, free-to-grow, and vigorous crop. Funding is available to establish either pine or hardwood.

    Pine Stand Establishment application worksheet and additional resources. 

    Hardwood Stand Establishment application worksheet and additional resources.

     + Forest Fertilization | $85/acre

    Proper soil management and forest nutrition are key to maintaining the productivity of planted or natural forests. However, few forest soils provide an optimum supply of the nutrient elements essential for the growth potential of trees. Where beneficial, this program incentivizes fertilization practices at the time of stand establishment, crown closure, and/or mid-rotation provided that competition is adequately controlled for each situation.

    Forest Fertilization application worksheet and additional resources.  

     + Herbicide | $95/acre

    The prudent control of unwanted vegetation with herbicides increases tree vigor, production and tree volume gains leading to increased carbon capture rates in Southern forests. Incentives are available for implementing recommended competition control using a variety of application methods.

    Herbicide application worksheet and additional resources.  

     + Prescribed Burn | $2,250/award

    Prescribed burning is the planned application of fire to an area to manage undesirable vegetation, reduce wildfire hazards from biomass accumulation, improve wildlife habitat, and improve soil health.

    Prescribed Burn application worksheet and additional resources.  

     + Thinning | $3,000/award + $325/acre

    Forest thinning activities that harvest small, low-vigor inferior trees ultimately improves the health and vigor of residual trees. Incentives are available for thinning practices implemented on their property.

    Thinning application worksheet and additional resources.