What You Need to Know
Managing trees and forests can yield diverse benefits for North Carolina's land and homeowners, but can also have regulatory, ordinance, and covenant implications. To avoid potential problems, the NC Forest Service (NCFS) encourages landowners to obtain the right information before taking action.
For example, if you are a subdivision homeowner in an urban center, you will want to check your neighborhood convenant for vegetation maintenance requirements. Your neighborhood may also be located in a city or town that has tree ordinances that require specific management practices. These requirements may also be apply to the extra territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) areas of your town.
In a rural setting, a landowner wanting to manage a tract of timber also needs to plan ahead to be sure the action complies with the state's nine performance-based water quality standards applicable to forestry. These rules are known as the Forest Practices Guidelines to Protect Water Quality, or FPGs. Additionally, the state and some local governments have also established rules to protect vegetated riparian buffers found along streams, rivers, and reservoirs in various parts of North Carolina.
It is up to the property owner to know the rules before engaging in forestry practices or contracting with a forest management service to work on their land. This can seem a daunting responsibility, but answers to your forest management questions are no farther away than your county NCFS office. The NCFS encourages all North Carolina landowners to contact a local office or use this web site to get the information needed prior to a tree or forest operation. The information you obtain from the NCFS will likely make your next step the right one!