Delaware: Multi-generational forest land transfers

In Delaware, family landowners – many of whom are over 55 years of age
– control over 85 percent of the state’s 375,000 acres of forestland.
These landowners, and the decisions they make about estate planning,
could affect the future of the state’s forested areas by putting them
at risk for possible development.

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The Delaware Forest Service wants to help landowners better manage and
protect their forests for future generations by educating them about
strategies to manage the process of transferring ownership to their

Without proper planning, the current generation of forest
landowners and their heirs could face financial pressures that may
increase the likelihood that large or contiguous forested tracts could
be subdivided. This effect, known as “parcelization,” can have a
far-reaching and negative impact on environmental quality and wildlife

As Delaware State Forester Austin Short stated, “Family forest owners are the key to maintaining the numerous benefits of private forests for future generations. Clean water and clean air are just two of the many ways we all benefit from our forestland.”

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