New England Forestry Foundation
Larry Master

Climate Initiatives

Western Maine Habitat Restoration

Get Reimbursed for Creating Habitat on Family Lands

Western Maine’s declining native plants, birds, fish and wildlife—including 139 rare species—need landowners like you to help piece together a diverse and vibrant forest across the landscape, from Bethel to Rangeley and Jackman to Baxter.

To offset habitat loss in this area of global ecological importance, New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) seeks family and other private forest owners in Western Maine who own more than 75 forested acres and who are interested in actively creating prime forest habitat for native fish, bird, and wildlife species. The forestland must be located in Oxford, Franklin, Somerset, and Piscataquis counties.

How Does the Program Work?

NEFF will assess if a participant’s property appears to have high potential to enhance or restore native wildlife habitat. If it does, NEFF will provide free guidance to the landowner to apply for funding for a professional management plan through our partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and advise a habitat-trained forester to create the habitat restoration plan based on ecological science combined with accepted forest management practices eligible for reimbursement by the NRCS. NEFF will also facilitate the next step: implementing the plan on the ground with financial assistance from the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP).

Which Properties Are a Good Fit for the Program?

Forested properties adjacent to or near high-value habitat such as rivers and lakes, mountains and conserved land, or near undeveloped land such as commercial forests, will be prioritized as NEFF seeks to connect wildlife habitat across the landscape while building a healthy, resilient forest for the future using the Exemplary Forestry model. Forest management planning is compatible with managing for carbon and timber to the extent that the plan prioritizes enhancing native bird, fish and wildlife habitat as guided by ecological science.

We seek to include Historically Underserved owners in the project area—including U.S. military veterans, first-generation forest owners who live year-round in Western Maine and acquired land in the past five years, Wabanaki members, and others as defined by our USDA partner.

Get Started

Since each piece of forestland is different, the first step is to contact NEFF to have a conversation about your land. Be sure to include this information in your email when you reach out: the property’s forested acreage, and its location by town or township, county, and address (if known). Please also provide a phone number and a good time to call so NEFF can learn more about your property. Our goal is to then work with you to get the on-the-ground habitat work done right and on time.

Contact: Christine Parrish, Western Maine Project Specialist |

Resources and Additional Information
NEFF Exemplary Forestry for Landscape-Scale Management: Overview

Western Maine fish and wildlife don’t just rely on one property to thrive. The NEFF Exemplary Forestry approach is designed to balance forest management on a single property with forest values on nearby lands by using a wide-angle and narrow-focus approach that maximizes the impact one forested property can offer in shifting an entire landscape toward meeting Exemplary Forestry goals.

This landscape-scale approach to management is part of what sets Exemplary Forestry apart, and is an important part of protecting ecosystem services and building resilience in a forest that is seeing new challenges—including pests, stronger storms and changing conditions—while encouraging the growth of a diverse forest suitable for the widest range of native fish, birds and other wildlife.

NEFF Exemplary Forestry Management: Guidelines for Land Managers

If you’d like to get a feel for the technical details of Exemplary Forestry, NEFF’s forestry experts have distilled the Acadian Forest practices into an overview that describes how they should be implemented and lists landscape-specific standards and metrics. The overview is one page in length and is accompanied by an additional page of citations.