The Secretary, in consultation with State foresters or equivalent State officials, shall establish a Forest Stewardship Program (hereafter referred to in this section as the “Program”) to encourage the long-term stewardship of nonindustrial private forest lands by assisting owners of such lands to more actively manage their forest and related resources by utilizing existing State, Federal, and private sector resource management expertise and assistance programs.
The goal of the Program shall be to enter at least 25,000,000 acres of nonindustrial private forest lands in the Program by December 31, 1995.
For the purposes of this section, the term “nonindustrial private forest lands” means rural, as determined by the Secretary, lands with existing tree cover, or suitable for growing trees, and owned by any private individual, group, association, corporation, Indian tribe, or other private legal entity.
All nonindustrial private forest lands that are not in management under Federal, State, or private sector financial and technical assistance programs existing on November 28, 1990, are eligible for assistance under the Program. Nonindustrial private forest lands that are managed under such existing programs are eligible for assistance under the Program if forest management activities are expanded and enhanced and the landowner agrees to meet the requirements of this chapter.
The Secretary, in consultation with State foresters or equivalent State officials, is encouraged to develop an appropriate recognition program for landowners who practice stewardship management on their lands, with an appropriate, special recognition symbol and title.
There are hereby authorized to be appropriated $25,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 1991 through 1995, and such sums as may be necessary thereafter, to carry out this section.