- Conserving Vermont's forests since 1977
- Acres of forestland protected 450,000
- Miles of forest streams protected 1,400
- Acres enrolled in carbon offsets 7,500
Protect Your Woodland
Over 75% of Vermont’s land is forested, and much of that land is privately owned, often by families and individuals. Conserving these forests matters a great deal for our climate, our economy, and our communities. If you own woodland and want it to remain forested, conservation is one option you could consider. We can help you explore your options and guide you through the process.
In Vermont, most forestland is conserved by landowners who donate a conservation easement to the Vermont Land Trust. This is a legal tool that limits development, promotes good forest management, and protects natural resources such as streams and wetlands. Other landowners have chosen to donate their woodland outright to a local land trust, town or state agency, or sometimes us.
If you own more than 1,000 acres of forestland, your property may be eligible for conservation funding through the Federal Forest Legacy Program. However, funding is awarded through a highly competitive process that can take many years, making it a challenging option for most Vermont woodland owners.
Community groups also play an important role in protecting forestland. We have worked with dozens of towns, state agencies, and grassroots organizations to protect woods for public use. These projects can be more complex, requiring communities to raise money and buy land. Learn more about this work on our communities page.
Care for the Woods
All of us have a role to play in caring for the health of trees and forests. Whether you own a large tract of conserved forest, live on a small lot, walk or bike on a forest trail, or volunteer for a local conservation group, there’s a lot to learn.
Here are some ways we can help:
- Attend a talk by our foresters at one of our demonstration forests where we manage for timber, water quality, recreation, climate change, and wildlife habitat.
- Attend an event to learn how to identify trees species, manage invasive plants and insects, understand what makes old forests so special, and more.
- Get involved with local volunteer groups that are working in partnership with us to manage invasive woodland plants. Contact Pieter to learn more about this.
Visit our partner organizations’ websites for more events and information, including Vermont Coverts, Vermont Woodland Association, Women Owning Woodlands, Cold Hollow to Canada, Vermont Urban & Community Forestry, and Our Vermont Woods.
Get Help with Your Conserved Land
If you own land conserved with the Vermont Land Trust you likely know us well. Every year, we reach out to see if there are changes planned on your land or offer support on land management. We also visit all conserved land periodically to connect with you, answer your questions, and to document any important changes.
Our professional forestry team is also a great resource. They can help you address invasive species, connect you to an independent forester to set up a forest management plan, and answer questions about how to best manage your woods for wildlife. They are also who you need to contact if you plan to harvest timber or have a new forest management plan.
Explore Forest Carbon Offsets
In 2020, we launched a pilot with 10 landowners in the Northern Green Mountains to form Vermont’s first carbon cooperative. In partnership with Cold Hollow to Canada, a community organization, we enrolled over 7,500 acres in the voluntary carbon market, which provides payments to landowners for enhanced forest management practices.
Today, we continue to sell credits for that project and improve the day-to-day management of the program. At this time, we don’t have plans to grow the program, due to its complexity and the resources currently available. We are tracking a number of carbon voluntary offset programs becoming available to Vermont landowners.