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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 (either through their business or private) should be aware of regulations and quarantines affecting the movement of timber and wood products to prevent the spread of pests and tree diseases.


  • Movement of Certain Wood Types in New York City or Long Island - Movement of certain wood types is restricted in New York City and Long Island 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 more than 50 miles from its source/place of origin within New York State.
    • Untreated firewood cannot be moved into New York State from another state or country.

Other Forest Programs and Information

  • Forest Management Program - DEC foresters provide free expert advice and technical assistance on forest management, including: forest products management, wildlife habitat improvement, erosion control and best management practices, tree planting, recreation enhancement, and sugar bush management. DEC can also help woodland owners understand how to save money on their real property taxes in exchange for practicing sound forest management through the 480-a Forest Tax Law Program.
  • Forest Products Utilization and Management Program - 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 related economy. This program gathers and publishes statistics on the extent, composition, condition and use of timber resources.
  • Forest Health Program - Our Forest Health unit 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 ecosystems.
  • Best Management Practices for Water Quality - This guide 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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