Pennsylvania’s 738,00 private forest landowners manage nearly 70 percent, or about 11.5 million acres, of woodlands across the Commonwealth. Surprisingly, more than 65 percent of all forest landowners own less than four acres. Whether you own an acre or several thousand acres, you need a legacy plan to carry your stewardship forward.
Passing on your land and your values
The average age of Pennsylvania’s forest landowners is 57, indicating an unprecedented transfer of forest ownership will take place in the next decade. At least 80 percent of these owners intend to leave their forestland as a legacy to their heirs or other beneficiaries. Only 40 percent have actually discussed a legacy plan; fewer still have a plan in place.
Unfortunately, forests are most at risk for conversion and loss when land transfer takes place. Without a plan, your land could be lost to development, subdivision, conversion to non-forest uses, forced sale of timber or land sale to pay large estate taxes.
When forestland is lost, so too, are public benefits—fresh water, clean air, wildlife—and private benefits—solitude, recreational opportunities, aesthetic beauty and spiritual renewal. Don’t let this happen.