On May 2, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed into law the Forest Preservation Act of 2013. According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the law is the first of its kind in the nation. It requires no net loss of the state’s current 40% tree canopy and provides incentives to surpass the statewide goal. The law extends tax benefits to additional property owners by expanding the eligible acreage from between 4 and 200 ha (10 and 500 ac) to between 1 and 400 ha (3 and 1000 ac). Marylanders can deduct forestry expenses, such as plantings and maintaining forested stream buffers, from their income tax liability. Read more.
Dovetailing with the Forest Preservation Act, Maryland also seeks to add 400 ha (1000 ac) of forested stream buffers by 2015 through its Stream Restoration Challenge. The state has made $6 million in grants available to those who establish stream-side forests to improve Chesapeake Bay water quality or to provide education opportunities for middle and high school students. Maryland DNR is accepting proposals until May 30.