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Land and Forest Management for Agriculture

Sustainable land and forest management practices are crucial to the survival of farms, orchards and vineyards, as well as the wild plants and animals often found on farmlands. DEC's programs and regulations are designed to protect and foster sustainable management of agricultural land and forest ecosystems. This page provides information about DEC's programs and regulations on the following topics:

  • Land Application of Organic Waste
  • Beneficial Use Determinations (BUDs)
  • Forest Management
  • Excavating and Reclaiming Mined Land

Land Application of Organic Waste

Land Application of Organic Waste - The organic waste referred to here is waste brought in from other places (sewage sludge, for example) for use on a farm. Applying organic waste to farm fields provides valuable nutrients to help organically enrich and restore soils, improving plant growth. Find regulatory information about which facilities are permitted to apply organic waste materials to farm fields here.

Note: Spreading manure on your own farmland is exempt from solid waste regulations. However, if you accept waste from other sources, review New York Codes, Rules and Regulations 6 NYCRR Subpart 360-4 to see which regulations apply.

Beneficial Use Determinations

Beneficial Use Determinations (BUDs) - BUDs are granted by DEC in order to allow the reuse of industrial and commercial byproducts (brewery waste, for example) in many applications, including agriculture. Find which byproducts DEC approves for use in livestock bedding, animal feeds and feed supplements, soil amendments, liming agents, and other farm uses here.

Forest Management

Anyone involved in growing trees, cutting trees or producing firewood (growing, cutting or selling) should be aware of regulations and quarantines affecting the movement of timber and wood products to prevent the spread of pests and tree diseases. DEC also provides a wealth of information on other forestry topics.


  • Movement of Ash Products - Untreated ash wood products cannot be moved into NY State because of the danger of spreading emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive ash-killing pest. In addition, these products may not be moved from quarantined to non-quarantined areas during specified times of year .
  • Movement of Certain Wood Types in New York City - Movement of certain wood types is restricted in New York City because of the danger of spreading pests and tree diseases (see link to USDA Quarantines in the right column under "Links Leaving DEC's Website").

Firewood Regulations

  • Movement of Firewood - Untreated firewood cannot be moved within state more than 50 miles from its source/place of origin within New York State, or into New York State from another state or country.

Other Forest Programs and Information

  • Private Forest Management - Through this program, DEC foresters provide expert advice and technical assistance on forest management, including: timber products management, wildlife habitat improvement, erosion control, tree planting, recreation enhancement, and sugar bush management. DEC can also help forest owners understand how to take advantage of forest tax laws 480 and 480-a.
  • Forest Products Utilization and Management - This program promotes the idea that a healthy and diverse forest products industry, combined with broad knowledge and understanding of the timber resource, are important to sustaining both healthy forests and a healthy forest economy. The program also gathers and publishes statistics on the extent, composition, condition and use of timber resources.
  • Forest Health - This program gathers, analyzes, and reports on tree pest and disease information for forest landowners and managers both public and private, placing highest priority on early detection of, and rapid response to, high-impact invasive species that may threaten forest health.
  • Best Management Practices for Water Quality - This program focuses on sustainably harvesting timber in ways that protect water quality, forest and soil resources, as well as providing a good source of income to forest owners.

Excavating and Reclaiming Mined Land

If you excavate your land to extract minerals, you may be subject to state mining regulations. DEC created the Mined Land Reclamation Program to administer permits for excavations that either remove or propose to remove more than 1,000 tons, or more than 750 cubic yards, whichever is less, of minerals during 12 successive months.

Certain activities are exempt from the Mined Land Reclamation Law and do not require a permit. The most common exempt activities are excavating or land grading operations that are part of construction projects, such as excavation of a basement or drainage improvements. Please contact your regional mined land reclamation specialist for information on mining permits, exempt activities and exemption determinations.

For a complete discussion of mined land reclamation permits and exempt activities, please see DEC's Mined Land Reclamation Program Applicant's Guide page.

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    Albany, NY 12233-4500
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