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Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program - Community Forest Program (CFP)

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, and Tribes for
the Acquisition and Preservation of Forested Areas

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Forest Service

Deadline Date:

01/06/20 Receipt


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Grants to USA and Territories nonprofit organizations, local government agencies, and tribes to support the acquisition and preservation of forestlands. Projects involve private forests under threat of conversion to non-forest purposes that offer recreational opportunities and public access, protect wildlife habitat and water supplies, serve as demonstration sites for private forest landowners, and provide economic benefits from timber and non-timber products.

The Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (Community Forest Program) of the Forest Service is a competitive grant program whereby local governments, qualified nonprofit organizations, and Indian tribes are eligible to apply for grants to establish community forests through fee simple acquisition of private forest land from a willing seller. The purpose of the program is to establish community forests by protecting forest land from conversion to non-forest uses and provide community benefits such as sustainable forest management, environmental benefits including clean air, water, and wildlife habitat; benefits from forest-based educational programs; benefits from serving as models of effective forest stewardship; and recreational benefits secured with public access.

Eligible lands for grants funded under this program are private forest that is at least five acres in size, suitable to sustain natural vegetation, and at least 75 percent forested. The lands must also be threatened by conversion to nonforest uses, must not be held in trust by the United States on behalf of any Indian Tribe, must not be Tribal allotment lands, must be offered for sale by a willing seller, and if acquired by an eligible entity, must provide defined community benefits under CFP and allow public access. 

Allowable project & cost-share expenses:

  • Full fee purchase price
  • Yellow Book appraisal/Appraisal review 
  • Land survey
  • Legal & closing costs
  • Title examination
  • Development of Community Forest Plan

Eligible lands:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177342

Estimated Size of Grant:

Individual grant applications may not exceed $600,000, which does not include technical assistance requests.

Term of Contract:

The initial grant period shall be for two years, and the acquisition of lands should occur within that timeframe.

The grant may be reasonably extended by the Forest Service when necessary to accommodate unforeseen circumstances in the land acquisition process.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants: A local governmental entity, Indian Tribe (including Alaska Native Corporations), or a qualified nonprofit organization that is qualified to acquire and manage land. Applications are encouraged from across the country.

More details about eligibility can be seen here:

Program Basics:
- Full fee title acquisition is required.
- Community Forests can be owned by local governments, tribal governments, and qualified nonprofit entities.
- Public access is required for Community Forest Program projects.
- Lands acquired through the program are actively managed in accordance with a community forest plan to provide community benefits.

Costs not allowed as reimbursable or cost-share expenses:
- Conservation Easement Purchases
- Long-term operation, maintenance, and land management
- Construction of buildings or recreational facilitates
- Research
- Existing liens or taxes owed
- Costs associated with preparation of the application, except any allowable project costs specified in 36 CFR 230.6(b)

Individuals are not eligible to receive funds through this program.

Lands acquired prior to the grant award are not eligible for CFP funding.

Pre-Application Information:

Interested local government and nonprofit applicants must submit applications to the State Forester. Tribal applicants must submit applications to the appropriate Tribal government officials.

All applications, either hardcopy or electronic, must be received by State Foresters or Tribal governments by January 6th, 2020. State Foresters or Tribal government officials must forward applications to the appropriate Forest Service Regional office or International Institute of Tropical Forestry by February 6th, 2020.

All local government and qualified nonprofit organization applications must be submitted to the State Forester of the State where the property is located. All Tribal applications must be submitted to the equivalent Tribal government official.

Applicants are encouraged to contact and work with the Forest Service Region or International Institute of Tropical Forestry, and State Forester or equivalent Tribal government official when developing their proposal. Applicants must consult with the State Forester and equivalent Tribal government official prior to requesting technical assistance for a project.

All applicants must also send an email to confirm an application has been submitted for funding consideration. State Foresters and Tribal government officials shall submit applications, either electronic or hardcopy, to the appropriate Forest Service Region/ Institute contact.

DUNS Number. All applicants shall include a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in their application.

The program pays up to 50% of the project costs and requires a 50% non-federal match.

Technical assistance funds, totaling not more than 10 percent of all funds, may be allocated to State Foresters and equivalent officials of the Indian tribe. Technical assistance, if provided, will be awarded at the time of the grant.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

If you are interested in applying, contact your CFP Regional Contact:

National Contact:

Scott Stewart, Forest Legacy Program Manager & Community Forest Program Manager
(202) 205-1618

Email questions or comments to:

The list of Forest Service Region / Institute contacts divided by regions:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)