Forests and Timber Harvests
Montgomery Planning has general information about the Forest Conservation Law, which governs timber harvesting operations.
The County Arborist in the Department of Environmental Protection is required to review timber harvesting operations to grant exemptions from certain requirements of the County's Forest Conservation Law under Section 22A-5(d)(1)(B) of the County Code. The County Code requires that logging or harvesting plans be consistent with County forest management objectives or otherwise appropriate.
Logging and harvesting plans are reviewed for their consistency with widely accepted sustainable forest management practices such as those set forth in the Sustainable Forestry Initiative 2010-2014 Standard: Section 2. (PDF, 657KB) This standard promotes certification under the well-known American Tree Farm System. Further, the Society of American Foresters (SAF), the preeminent society of forestry professionals in the United States and internationally, is on the external review board of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
How to Apply for a Sustainable Timber Harvest/Forest Conservation Exemption
To apply for an exemption from the Montgomery County Forest Conservation Law for a sustainable timber harvest, complete the following steps.
Step 1: Obtain a Sediment Control Permit
Sediment control permits are issued through the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services. To obtain a permit:
Step 2: Obtain Approval From the County Arborist
The Montgomery County Forest Conservation Law requires the approval of the County Arborist before a timber harvest project may obtain exemption from certain provisions of the Forest Conservation Law. To obtain the County Arborist's approval:
After receiving this information, the County Arborist will contact you within 10 business days to schedule a site visit and review the information.
Step 3: Complete the Natural Resources Inventory/Forest Stand Delineation Exemption Review Application
Review and complete the following documents: (Note that the documents may also be found on the NRI/FSD Review section on the Montgomery Planning, Development Review webpage.)
Step 4: Submit the following to Montgomery Planning, Environmental Planning Division:
1. Sediment Control Permit (Step 1);
2. Environmental Review from the DNR Natural Heritage Program (Step 2);
3. Approval letter from the Montgomery County Arborist (Step 2);
4. Completed NRI/FSD Exemption Review Application (Step 3); and
5. Application Fee.
Submit all application material to the Environmental Planning by email, fax, or mail:Environmental Planning 8787 Georgia Avenue Silver Spring, MD 20910 Phone: 301-495-4730 Fax: 301-495-1303 Email: Mark.Pfefferle@MontgomeryPlanning.org
Information about the Processes and Problems of Unsustainable Timber Harvests:
Sustainable Forestry Resources
Forest Conservation and Management Can Save You Money!
Most owners who have five or more contiguous acres of forest land within the state of Maryland may be eligible to participate in the Forest Conservation and Management Program with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. This program often provides significant savings in property taxes.
Learn More about Sustainable Forestry
How To Hire a Forester