FOREST PRACTICE AFFORESTATION
(1) The purpose of OAR 629-611-0000 to 629-611-0020 is to implement ORS 526.490, providing an incentive for landowners to convert parcels of idle land or land in other uses to commercial forest use.
(2) The provisions of ORS 526.490 shall be called the afforestation incentive and OAR 629-611-0000 to 629-611-0020 shall be known as the afforestation incentive rules.
(3) The afforestation incentive in these rules is a one-time exemption from most tree retention requirements in the forest practice rules as described in section (5) of this rule.
(4) For the purposes of the afforestation incentive rules, "planted" trees means those trees that a landowner establishes as an initial forest stand to qualify for the incentive and includes:
(a) All trees the landowner plants or causes to be planted; and
(b) All naturally established trees that are established within ten years prior to, or following, the date the parcel is certified as qualified for the incentive.
(5) Notwithstanding forest practice rule provisions prohibiting harvest of trees, the afforestation incentive allows landowners to harvest all planted trees on certified afforestation incentive parcels with the following limitations:
(a) The afforestation incentive applies only to the land and timber located more than 20 feet from large or medium Type F, Type D, or Type N streams, or small Type F or Type D streams.
(b) Any forest operations on such parcels must comply with all forest practice rules that require practices other than restrictions on harvesting the planted trees.
(c) A planted tree that later becomes a key component of a specified resource site normally requiring protection under the forest practice rules may be harvested; however, the State Forester may temporarily prohibit harvesting during an annual critical period of use of the site, as provided in the specified resource site protection rules.
(d) (For information only) Federal law prohibits a person from taking threatened or endangered species. Taking, under the federal law, may include significant alteration of habitat on any class of land ownership. Compliance with the afforestation incentive rules is not in lieu of compliance with any federal requirements related to the federal Endangered Species Act.
Qualifications and Procedures
(1) To qualify for the afforestation incentive, a parcel or any separate portion thereof must meet all of the following requirements:
(a) It must be at least five contiguous acres.
(b) The State Forester must obtain evidence that, regardless of its use prior to July 1, 1972, from that date until the time of afforestation it has been idle or exclusively in uses other than commercial activities related to the growing and harvesting of forest tree species. Forestland in understocked condition, identified consistent with (c) below, may qualify for the incentive if the stocking was reduced or limited by causes other than a forest operation occurring after July 1, 1972.
(c) No acre may be certified as part of an afforestation incentive parcel if, prior to the establishment of a well-stocked, free to grow stand of forest trees, the acre's stocking, if any, was 25 square feet of basal area or more.
(d) Afforestation must have begun on the parcel on or after September 9, 1995, the date ORS 526.490 became effective.
(2) To gain certification of a parcel as eligible for the afforestation incentive, a landowner must request inspection by the State Forester within two to five years following stand establishment.
(3) A request for inspection and certification of a parcel shall be accompanied by the following:
(a) A map that depicts the parcel or portion thereof in relation to public lands survey subdivisions and access roads for the purpose of locating and inspecting the parcel, and that will be sufficient to identify the parcel at the time of harvest;
(b) Photographs documenting the condition of the parcel as idle land or land in other than adequately-stocked commercial forest use prior to stand establishment; and
(c) Written permission of the owner to enter the property as necessary to inspect and determine whether the parcel qualifies for the afforestation incentive.
(4) To be certified eligible for the afforestation incentive, the parcel's afforestation must meet or exceed the reforestation rule standards for acceptable species, adequate stocking, and free to grow condition found in OAR Chapter 629 Division 610 of the forest practice rules. Pre-existing free to grow forest tree stocking may be counted toward meeting those standards.
(5) Landowners who qualify parcels for the afforestation incentive by meeting the requirements of sections (1) to (4) of this rule shall be issued a certificate by the State Forester describing the parcel and the exemption from harvest restrictions to which the landowner is entitled.
(6) The afforestation incentive is a one-time exemption for each individual parcel or portion thereof, applying only to planted trees established to initially certify each parcel. These trees constitute the parcel's first rotation stand for either even-aged or uneven-aged management. The certification date shall be considered the beginning of the first rotation so that, at the time of harvesting, no trees other than the planted trees shall be included in the exemption.
(7) To ensure recognition of the afforestation incentive at the time of harvest, many years after certification of a parcel, landowners are encouraged to record the certificate issued by the State Forester with the appropriate county clerk as specified under ORS 205.130.
(8) In order to exercise the exemption from tree harvesting restrictions under ORS 526.490(3), the landowner must present a record of the certificate to the State Forester whenever first rotation trees are to be harvested.
Fee for Inspection and Certification
The State Forester shall charge a fee to persons requesting certification to offset the costs of inspecting parcels and preparing certificates. This fee shall be $50 per parcel plus $2 per acre for each acre in excess of five acres, to a maximum of $200 per parcel.