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Assessing State-Sponsored Tax Incentive Programs for Nonindustrial Private Forest Landowners in the Western United States

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In 1982 Colorado approved a constitutional amendment that, in part, provided a lowered property tax rate for agricultural lands. Forested lands were not considered agricultural lands until 10 years later when a statute passed providing for such a consideration, under the Forest Ag program. This new program has created a number of unanticipated consequences, such as increasing stress on county government coffers. This stress may cause the program to be terminated and suggests a need for program reevaluation. As an initial step toward reevaluation, property tax programs affecting nonindustrial private forestland in the western United States were examined. Of the 11 contiguous states, 18 distinct programs were cataloged. Although these programs hold a number of rudimentary features in common, most notably lowering a property owner's tax bill in exchange for land-management activities, further analysis should provide in-depth quantitative analysis.

Keywords: Colorado; Forest Ag; ad valorem; property tax programs

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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