Your woods collectively provide the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with many benefits, including clean air and water, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and a local wood supply. Navigating the many programs associated with forest management and land conservation can seem like an overwhelming process.

The Working Forest Initiative was created to streamline the programs and services that MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) offers woodlands owners. 

Working Forest Initiative Brochure  pdf format of Working Forest Initiative Brochure


The Forest Stewardship Program


The DCR Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) helps landowners learn more about what’s on their land and how to achieve their management goals, which might include enhancing wildlife habitat, recreational trails, and conducting timber harvesting. The FSP typically provides funding assistance to landowners with more than 10 acres of woodland to create a Forest Stewardship plan with the help of a consulting forester.

Managed for DCR by the Massachusetts Woodlands Institute

Contact Michael Downey |  | (978) 368-0126 ext. 129


Foresters for the Birds: Assessing Your Woods for Bird Habitat

bird habitat

Massachusetts FFTB Ecoregions  Link to the image file.

Massachusetts is an especially important New England state to breeding birds because it is a part of both the Northern Forest Region the Eastern Deciduous Forest Region.  For some of these species, as much as 90% of their population is breeding here.  Many of these birds are showing a decline in their populations.  For those birds that depend on forest habitat knowing how to modify forest structure to meet habitat needs is critical for species in decline.

The DCR Bird Habitat Assessment Program, in partnership with MassAudubon, provides funding assistance to landowners to work with a consulting forester or other qualified professional to evaluate existing and potential habitat for a selection of birds.

Private foresters are certified to conduct Bird Habitat assessments by demonstrating a base knowledge of bird habitat requirements, the methods and procedures for doing a habitat assessment and demonstrating the appropriate level of detail in a written habitat assessment.

The Bird Habitat Assessment must be conducted in concert with a Forest Stewardship Plan, or update an existing forest management plan such as a current use (Ch61) plan.


 Managed for DCR by the Massachusetts Woodlands Institute

Contact Alison Wright |  | (413) 545-5751


Estate Planning

estate planning

Deciding what will happen to your land after your lifetime is a critical step in stewarding your land. Your land is likely one of your most valuable assets, especially if you have owned it for a long time and it has increased in value. However, land often carries family connections, memories, and emotions that can make planning for it more complicated than other assets. Estate planning can help meet both your financial needs and personal goals for the future of the land. Free copies of Your Land, Your Legacy, an informational publication with in-depth information about estate taxes, ownership structures, and land conservation, as well as 12 case studies of landowners across Massachusetts are available online or through the mail. Several free informational workshops are held across the state throughout the year.

Managed for DCR by University of Massachusetts Extension

Contact Paul Catanzaro |  | (413) 545-4839


fsc green certification

FSC Green Certification

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that promotes the responsible management of the world’s forests. By certifying your Forest Stewardship Plan to the FSC national standard, you agree to ecologically beneficial, socially responsible, and economically viable forest management practices.

Contact Douglas Hutcheson |  | (413) 545-7020