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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 for eligibility for 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. Image of Forest Harvest

Logging and harvesting plans are reviewed for 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:

  1. Download and complete the  Application for Sediment Control Permit ( PDF, 44KB)

  2. Submit all required fees. 

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:

  1. Provide the information required by the Information for Sustainable Timber Harvest form ( PDF , 44KB) . This information will assist the County Arborist in determining if the harvest, as planned, qualifies for an exemption from the Forest Conservation Law.
  2. Obtain an Environmental Review from the  Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Natural Wildlife and Heritage Program documenting the presence or absence of any threatened or endangered species and/or habitat on-site. 
  3. Submit this application material to the County Arborist by email or mail: 
County Arborist, Department of Environmental Protection
255 Rockville Pike, Suite 120  Rockville, MD 20850
Phone: 311 (available within the County, or call 240-777-0311)
Fax: 240-777-7715

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)

  1. Review the NRI/FSD and  Forest Conservation Exemption Requirements Notice ( PDF, 90KB)

Complete the NRI/FSD and  Forest Conservation Exemption Review Application ( PDF, 913KB)   To complete the application:

  1. Complete page 1.

  2. Complete top half of page 2.

  3. Complete page 2, Section 3. The type of exemption you are applying for is Section 22A-5(d), commercial logging and timber harvesting operation.

  4. Complete page 3.

  5. Complete pages 4 and 5, Sections 1, 2, and 4.

  6. Complete the  Fee Schedule and Worksheet ( PDF , 221KB)

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 Montgomery Planning Department in person:

Environmental Planning
8787 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910

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. 

Forest Conservation and Management Means Property Tax Savings ( PDF , 329KB)

Image of American Chestnut in Forest

Learn More about Sustainable Forestry

How To Hire a Forester 

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