Governor O’Malley Signed Landmark Forest Legislation

On May 2, Governor O’Malley signed a piece of forest legislation into law.  The

first-of-its-kind legislation amends Maryland’s forest conservation policy to maintain the State’s current 40 percent tree canopy ─ a no-net-loss. The bill establishes new and expanded reforestation incentives and tools to help landowners and local governments meet and surpass the statewide goal.

In addition to the no-net-loss requirements, Maryland’s Forest Preservation Act of 2013 (House Bill 706) adds a dual sustainability certification of State Forests requirement, and extends tax benefits to more Marylanders who work to increase tree cover on their property.

From O’Malley’s press release:

Until now, landowners could deduct between 10 and 500 acres worth of forestry expenses from their income tax liability. This legislation expands that amount to 3 to 1,000 acres, making more private property owners eligible for tax credits. By including smaller land areas, more Marylanders will have incentive to convert residential turf to trees, and increase, retain and manage forest cover on these properties. Forest stewardship activities include tree plantings, creating and maintaining forested stream buffers, controlling invasive species, and other best management practices that improve forest health.

For more information on the forest legislation, click here.