United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jul 18, 2024

§ 6572.
Eligibility and enrollment of lands in program
(a)
In general

The Secretary of Agriculture, in coordination with the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce, shall describe and define forest ecosystems that are eligible for enrollment in the healthy forests reserve program.

(b)
Eligibility
To be eligible for enrollment in the healthy forests reserve program, land shall be private forest land, or private land being restored to forest land, the enrollment of which will maintain, restore, enhance, or otherwise measurably—
(1)
increase the likelihood of recovery of a species that is listed as endangered or threatened under section 1533 of this title; or
(2)
improve the well-being of a species that—
(A)
is—
(i)
not listed as endangered or threatened under such section; and
(ii)
a candidate for such listing, a State-listed species, or a special concern species; or
(B)
is deemed a species of greatest conservation need by a State wildlife action plan.
(c)
Other considerations
In enrolling land that satisfies the criteria under subsection (b), the Secretary of Agriculture shall give additional consideration to land the enrollment of which will—
(1)
improve biological diversity;
(2)
conserve forest land that provides habitat for species described in subsection (b); and
(3)
increase carbon sequestration.
(d)
Enrollment by willing owners

The Secretary of Agriculture shall enroll land in the healthy forests reserve program only with the consent of the owner of the land.

(e)
Methods of enrollment
(1)
Authorized methods
Land may be enrolled in the healthy forests reserve program in accordance with—
(A)
a 10-year cost-share agreement;
(B)
a 30-year easement; or
(C)
(i)
a permanent easement; or
(ii)
in a State that imposes a maximum duration for easements, an easement for the maximum duration allowed under State law.
(2)
Acreage owned by Indian tribes
(A)
Definition of acreage owned by Indian tribes
In this paragraph, the term “acreage owned by Indian tribes” includes—
(i)
land that is held in trust by the United States for Indian tribes or individual Indians;
(ii)
land, the title to which is held by Indian tribes or individual Indians subject to Federal restrictions against alienation or encumbrance;
(iii)
land that is subject to rights of use, occupancy, and benefit of certain Indian tribes;
(iv)
land that is held in fee title by an Indian tribe; or
(v)
land that is owned by a native corporation formed under section 5124 of title 25 or section 1607 of title 43; or
(vi)
a combination of 1 or more types of land described in clauses (i) through (v).
(B)
Enrollment of acreage
In the case of acreage owned by an Indian tribe, the Secretary may enroll acreage into the healthy forests reserve program through the use of—
(i)
a 30-year contract (the value of which shall be equivalent to the value of a 30-year easement);
(ii)
a 10-year cost-share agreement;
(iii)
a permanent easement; or
(iv)
any combination of the options described in clauses (i) through (iii).
(f)
Enrollment priority
(1)
Species
The Secretary of Agriculture shall give priority to the enrollment of land that provides the greatest conservation benefit to—
(A)
primarily, species listed as endangered or threatened under section 1533 of this title; and
(B)
secondarily, species that—
(i)
are not listed as endangered or threatened under section 1533 of this title; but
(ii)
(I)
are candidates for such listing, State-listed species, or special concern species; or
(II)
are deemed a species of greatest conservation need under a State wildlife action plan.
(2)
Cost-effectiveness

The Secretary of Agriculture shall also consider the cost-effectiveness of each agreement or easement, and associated restoration plans, so as to maximize the environmental benefits per dollar expended.

(g)
Easement modification or termination
(1)
In general
The Secretary may modify or terminate an easement or other interest in land administered by the Secretary under this title if—
(A)
the owner of the land agrees to the modification or termination; and
(B)
the Secretary determines that the modification or termination—
(i)
will address a compelling public need for which there is no practicable alternative; and
(ii)
is in the public interest.
(2)
Consideration; conditions
(A)
Termination

As consideration for termination of an easement or other interest in land under this subsection, the Secretary shall enter into a compensatory arrangement, as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

(B)
Modification
In the case of a modification of an easement or other interest in land under this subsection—
(i)
as a condition of the modification, the owner of the land shall enter into a compensatory arrangement, as the Secretary determines to be appropriate, to incur the costs of modification; and
(ii)
the Secretary shall ensure that—
(I)
the modification will not adversely affect the forest ecosystem functions and values for which the easement or other interest in land was acquired;
(II)
any adverse impacts will be mitigated by enrollment and restoration of other land that provides greater forest ecosystem functions and values at no additional cost to the Federal Government; and
(III)
the modification will result in equal or greater environmental and economic values to the United States.
(Pub. L. 108–148, title V, § 502, Dec. 3, 2003, 117 Stat. 1911; Pub. L. 110–234, title VIII, § 8205(a), May 22, 2008, 122 Stat. 1294; Pub. L. 110–246, § 4(a), title VIII, § 8205(a), June 18, 2008, 122 Stat. 1664, 2056; Pub. L. 113–79, title VIII, § 8203(a), Feb. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 914; Pub. L. 115–334, title VIII, § 8407(a)(2)–(6), Dec. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 4845, 4846; Pub. L. 117–328, div. HH, title III, § 401, Dec. 29, 2022, 136 Stat. 5984.)
cite as: 16 USC 6572