Category Archives: Policy

Government and Industry Policy Discussion

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Family Estate Tax Deferral Act of 2010

Source: American Forest Foundation

In early August U.S. Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced legislation in the Senate that would help to fix the estate tax for family forest owners and farms. S. 3664, The Family Estate Tax Deferral Act of 2010, will help preserve forest land by helping families avoid the pressure of selling to pay taxes when land is passed down from one generation to the next.

If the estate tax is not reformed before 2011, any estate worth over $1 million will be subject to a 55% tax. This will affect many landowners, and may force some of them to sell or harvest their timber unsustainably in order to pay the tax.

S. 3664, the Feinstein-Crapo bill, is similar to the Thompson bill, HR 5475, in the House. The bill would provide family forest owners with an exemption from the estate tax, if they keep the land in their family and manage it as a forest. Landowners can harvest, if they harvest consistent with a forest stewardship plan.

More information about the bill and contacting your senators is available from the American Forest Foundation.

Summary of definition for “renewable biomass” in proposed federal legislation

Summary of definition for “renewable biomass” relative to trees and forest as contained in American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (HR 2454, Sections 101 and 312) and the compromise draft as proposed by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (SENR)

Available Biomass-General

HR 2454

· Non-hazardous vegetative material from yard waste and rights-of-way trimmings

· Trees, brush, slash and residues removed from within 600 feet of buildings, campgrounds, or routes designated for evacuation as designated by emergency preparedness official

· Trees, brush, slash and residues removed from within 300 feet of paved road or utility corridor

· Residues/ by-products from milled logs


· Non-hazardous organic residues and by-products from milled logs

· Municipal waste stream materials that include trees, trimmings, yard waste, pallets, railroad ties, crates, and solid wood debris from construction and manufacturing

· Hazard trees and brush removed to maintain rights-of-way and public roads

· Trees, trimmings and brush removed from immediate vicinity of buildings and campgrounds for purposes of reducing risks from wildfire

· Removal or eradication of invasive plant material as defined in Executive Order 13112 (42 USC 4321)

Available Biomass on Non-federal lands: Plantations

HR 2454

· Trees, brush, slash, residues and interplanted energy crops originating from actively managed tree plantations

· Plantation must have been established prior to enactment of legislation; or

· Plantation may be established on land that was cultivated, fallow, or non-forested on the date of enactment

· Logging residue, thinnings, cull trees, pulpwood and brush and species that are non-native and noxious from stands planted and managed to maintain or restore native forest types after date of enactment

· Dead or damaged trees associated with fire, infestations or natural disasters if removed within 5 years of impact


· Slash, brush and trees from land that was planted for the purpose of restoring a naturally regenerated forest

· Slash, brush and trees that had been planted at time of harvest and on the date of legislative enactment was either cropland, fallow, pasture, or planted forest land

Available Biomass on Non-federal lands: Naturally regenerated stands (Non-plantation)

HR 2454

· Trees, logging residue, thinnings, cull trees, pulpwood and other brush originating from naturally-regenerated forests or non-plantations that were removed to reduce hazardous fuels or prevent infestations from insects or disease.

· Dead or damaged trees associated with fire, infestations or natural disasters if removed with 5 years of impact


· Slash, brush and trees that at time of harvest was from naturally regenerated forests

Available Biomass-Federal Lands

HR 2454

· Material, pre-commerical thinnings and invasive species originating from National Forests and other public lands pursuant to 43 USC 1702

· Material removed as part of preventive treatment to reduce hazardous fuels, restore ecosystem health, contain insect and disease infestations and associated with a federally recognized timber sale


· Slash and brush and trees on National Forests and public lands (per 43 USC 1702) that are by-products of ecological restoration, control of insect and disease infestation, or hazardous fuel reduction

· Forests killed by insect or disease infestation or natural disaster

Restrictions and Prohibitions- Non-federal lands

HR 2454

· Renewable biomass may not be used from either plantations or naturally regenerated forest stands if such forests are “high conservation priority” lands defined as follows:

o Globally or state ranked as imperiled or critically imperiled per State Natural Heritage Program; OR

o Old-growth or late succession as identified by State Forester or relevant State agency with regulatory jurisdiction for forestry activities


· Identifed by the Secretary of Agriculture (or Secretary of Interior if Indian Tribal Land) as “conservation forest land” and harvested subject to practices that maintain restoration of species, ecological systems and communities

· “Conservation forest land” includes:

o Land that contains species or ecological system or community at risk of state or global level extinction or elimination; and

o Determined by best available science and data of the State or Indian Tribe; and

o In consultation with the State

o “Conservation forest land” may not be removed from such status as a consequence of land management practices that occurred on or after enactment/ designation and that contributed to elimination of species or ecological system for which it was designated

Restrictions and Prohibitions- Federal Lands

HR 2454

· Renewable biomass not available from components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, Wilderness Study Areas, Inventoried Roadless areas, old growth or mature forests, National Landscape Conservation Systems, National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, Designated Primitive Areas, or Wild and Scenic River corridors.

· Harvested in environmentally sustainable quantities as determined by appropriate Federal land manager

· Harvested in accordance with Federal and State laws pursuant to applicable land management plans


· Renewable biomass material may not be used as part of maintaining unpaved roads on federal land

· On federal lands renewable biomass may not be used from components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, National Landscape Conservation Systems, National Monument, or other areas designated by Congress for conservation purposes

· Harvested in accordance with applicable law and land management plans in quantities and practices that contribute to restoration of ecological sustainability

· Material does not meet utilization standards or exceed minimum size standards for sawtimber

· Renewable biomass material may not be harvested from old-growth or late successional forest unless

o Removal is byproduct of ecological restoration treatment that maintains or contributes to restoration of structure and composition of an old-growth forest

Interagency Biomass Sustainability Study

HR 2454

None specified


· Secretaries including Administrator for Environmental Protection Agency required to assess impacts of biomass harvesting for energy production on landscape-level water quality, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, “conservation forest land.”

· Study required no later than 5 years after date of enactment and every 5 years thereafter

· Study based on best available data

· Recommendations from Secretary as appropriate to reduce impacts

· Public participation required

Governance and Administrative Authority

HR 2454

· Intent is apparently to assign to Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency in that the definition for renewable biomass is associated with amendments to Title VII of the Clean Air Act

· Rules will be required to develop process, protocols, monitoring and enforcement provisions


· The Secretary of Agriculture is responsible for administering provisions of the statute as it applies to National Forests and non-federal land

· Rules will be required to develop process, protocols, monitoring and enforcement provisions

Mike Countess

Policy Analyst

Southern Group of State Foresters

May 25, 2009 

Maryland’s Forest Conservation Act


The Chesapeake Bay Journal – Seven Valleys,PA,USA, February 2009


Maryland‘s Forest Conservation Act has become the impetus for a forest mitigation market in Maryland. Developers who cannot mitigate their deforestation on-site are required to mitigate off-site through landowner afforestation/reforestation credits or by paying in-lieu fees that will eventually result in this.