For purposes of rules 1501:3-10-01 to 1501:3-10-07 of the Administrative Code:
(A) "Accepted silvicultural systems" means any even or unevenage management process that includes all the practices necessary to sustain a forest in a productive capacity. Practices include any cutting or cultural treatment necessary to replace and develop a forest stand.
(B) "Application" means the combination of the request for classification of forest land (DNR Form FT-06) and three signed agreement forms (form DNR Form FT-7), an approved forest management plan, three photo copies of aerial photos or property plat, and two copies of the previous year's tax bill. One photo or property plat shall include information on roads, streams, major buildings, property boundaries, section lines, survey numbers, and township lines and shall serve as a map.
(C) "Basal area" means the total cross sectional area of all live commercial species of trees expressed as square feet per acre and on individual trees, is measured at a point four and one-half feet above the ground.
(D) "Best management practices" means those generally accepted measures and practices that meet minimum specifications in preventing soil erosion and other nonpoint source pollution. The "BMPs for Erosion Control for Logging Practices in Ohio (The Ohio State University Extension Bulletin 916, et.seq.)" shall define the generally accepted measures and practices per this paragraph.
(E) "Chief" means the chief of the Ohio department of natural resources, division of forestry.
(F) "Clearcutting" means a silvicultural practice involving the removal of the entire standing crop as well as all other undesirable trees and vegetation down to a diameter of two inches measured at four and one-half feet above the ground from an area of five acres or larger in preparation for renewal of the forest.
(G) "Commercial cutting" means any cutting prescribed by an approved forest management plan that produces merchantable forest products and where the costs of cutting are less than the revenues generated while maintaining the land in productive forest.
(H) "Commercial species" means species of forest trees suitable to the site and climate that are capable of producing and regularly produce merchantable forest products. This definition excludes species considered to be invasive plants.
(I) "Contiguous" shall refer to an eligible tract, lot or parcel where forest lands are adjacent or near each other. These may be separated by non-forest land owned and controlled by the owner, or federal, state, county or township roads, easements, rights-of-way, energy transmission corridors, or similar facilities, as long as vehicular access necessary for forest management purposes is not precluded and the separation is not greater than one hundred twenty feet in width. Adjacent forest lands on two or more tracts lots or parcels under the same owner that together meet the qualifications specified in paragraph (A) of rule 1501:3-10-02 of the Administrative Code and otherwise meeting the definition of this paragraph shall be considered contiguous.
(J) "Crop-tree release" means a process by which stand-specific objectives are established and "crop-trees" that will ultimately meet these objectives are identified throughout the stand. These crop-trees are then released from competition through the removal of adjacent trees that interfere with the crown of the crop-trees.
(K) "Deferment cutting" means removal in one cut of all trees from an area, save a small number of mature trees. Residual mature trees will remain and be managed as a component of the new stand of trees.
(L) "Division" means the Ohio department of natural resources, division of forestry.
(M) "Examination" means a visit by the division for the purpose of verifying conditions for forest tax law classification or for checking plan compliance.
(N) "Forest land" means land for which the primary purpose is the growing, managing and harvesting of a merchantable forest product of commercial species under accepted silvicultural systems through natural or artificial reforestation methods and for which there is an approved forest management plan. The forest land shall consist of a stand or stands of commercial species of forest trees which contain at least fifty square feet of basal area or at least three hundred stems per acre which shall be evenly distributed throughout the stand. Land otherwise meeting the definition of forest land per this paragraph but where such purposes are prohibited or made impracticable by ordinance, resolution, easement or other restriction are excluded from this definition.
(O) "Forest management plan" means a written document establishing direction and goals for the management of a specific forest land area. If not prepared by the division, the document must be developed by a professional consulting forester. The plan will specify all silvicultural practices and activities necessary to accomplish the merchantable production of a forest product, all practices that will minimize adverse environmental effects and will include but not be limited to the elements described in rule 1501:3-10-04 of the Administrative Code.
(P) "Forest plantation" means a stand artificially reforested with a commercial species and established by planting or direct seeding. A plantation shall have at least three hundred live stems per acre evenly distributed throughout the site one full calendar year after reforestation.
(Q) "Forestry" means management of forest land.
(R) "Forestry services provider" means a person offering any or all of the following services: tree planting, implementation of best management practices, buyer of timber, or implementation of a silvicultural activity. The chief may periodically prepare a list of forestry services providers that desire to have their name appear on such a list.
(S) "Invasive plant" means an alien plant species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.
(T) "Management" means an active physical role in enhancing stand quality, future productivity and environmental quality of forest land.
(U) "Master logger" means any company that has met the requirements set forth and been conferred master logger status by the Ohio forestry association.
(V) "Merchantable forest product" means maple syrup, timber or pulpwood, including veneer bolts, sawlogs, poles, posts, chips, and fuelwood, that is produced on forest land, has a value in the market and may be sold. This definition excludes Christmas trees.
(W) "Non-commercial cutting" means the costs of cutting exceed any revenues generated. This includes those practices that improve the vigor and productivity of the remaining stand by cutting non-commercial species; such cutting may involve removal of merchantable products if it is incidental to the cutting.
(X) "Non-commercial species" of trees means forest trees that do not regularly produce merchantable products and include but are not limited to the following species: (1) Cornus spp. (dogwood); (2) Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam); (3) Ostrya virginiana (ironwood); (4) Asimina triloba (pawpaw); (5) Cercis canadensis (redbud); (6) Amelanchier spp. (service berry); (7) Oxydendrum arboreum (sourwood); (8) Salix spp. (willow); (9) pomaceous trees; and (10) invasive plants.
(Y) "Nonpoint source pollution" means pollution of waterways or ground waters by a pollutant or pollutants whose source is from a broad area and cannot be attributed to a single defined point.
(Z) "Owner" includes, but is not limited to, any person, persons, or trust owning in fee simple, fee tail, or life estate.
(AA) "Professional consulting forester" means a person attaining the credential of certified forester as conferred by the society of American foresters or a person who is a member of the association of consulting foresters. The chief may periodically prepare a list of persons meeting this definition that desire to have their name appear on such a list.
(BB) "Selection cutting" means the removal of selected trees throughout the range of merchantable sizes at regular intervals either singly or in groups (group selection) of up to five acres in size to produce a merchantable forest product and enhance the quality of the residual stand.
(CC) "Seed-tree cutting" means the removal in one cut all trees from an area, save for a small number of mature trees for seed production. Residual trees may be left as individuals or small groups. The residual trees will be removed after the establishment of a new stand of trees.
(DD) "Shelterwood cutting" means removing a significant portion (generally one-half to one-third) of the mature trees in one cut from an area, with the remaining trees providing a source of seed and shelter for a new stand of trees. Residual mature trees will be removed after the establishment of the new stand of trees.
(EE) "Silvicultural activity" means any management activity that controls the establishment, composition, constitution, growth and productivity of forests.
(FF) "Stand" means an aggregation of trees occupying a specific area and sufficiently uniform in species composition, arrangement or condition so as to be sufficiently distinguishable from adjacent stands.
(GG) "Tract, lot or parcel" means an identified area of land described and recorded on one deed.
Lands certified as eligible by the division for taxation in accordance with section 5713.23 of the Revised Code prior to November 7, 1994 shall remain certified as long as those lands comply with rule 1501:3-10-07 of the Administrative Code. No lands shall be certified as eligible by the division pursuant to section 5713.23 of the Revised Code after the effective date of these rules unless lands meet the minimum qualifications of forest land and comply with the requirements of these rules.
(A) The forest land to be certified shall consist of a minimum of ten contiguous acres and shall be: no less than one hundred and twenty feet wide; accessible for management and; meet the definition of forest land as specified in paragraph (L) of rule 1501:3-10-01 of the Administrative Code.
(B) The forest land to be certified shall have a forest management plan per rule 1501:3-10-04 of the Administrative Code.
(C) Forest plantations are eligible for certification one calendar year after planting.
(D) If buildings exist on the forest land, the areas that are in total occupancy by the buildings shall be excluded prior to determining classification. In the cases of a homesite, a minimum of one acre shall be deducted from the total acreage prior to classification. Acreage contained in streams, rivers, utility and railroad rights-of-way and roads shall be deducted from the forested acreage where these non-forested strips exceed, on average, one hundred twenty feet in width. Natural or man-made lakes and ponds shall be deducted where said structures exceed one acre in size. Non-forested strips, as described above, more than one hundred twenty feet in width, shall be considered a break of contiguous forest land and each area shall be considered for eligibility separately. If acreage deductions are made from forest land pursuant to this paragraph, the remaining acreage must be a minimum of ten acres.
(E) Property lines and boundary lines between forest land to be classified and forest land not to be considered for classification shall be visibly marked by the owner prior to examination. The markings shall be made by one of the following: blazing of trees with paint, or installation of fence, posts or stakes. Each mark shall be no farther than sixty-six feet apart. Posts or stakes used to meet the requirements of this paragraph must have a height of at least four and one half feet above the ground and be of a material that has a life-span of at least ten years when subject to the natural elements including but not limited to decay and photo-degradation.
(F) Lands from which a merchantable forest product has been cut or removed within three years prior to the time of application will be eligible for certification only if:(1) the cutting or removal was accomplished under a forest management program as prescribed in an approved forest management plan designed to provide for the continuing production of merchantable forest products, or (2) in the absence of a forest management plan, the removal resulted in an acceptable silvicultural practice as determined in the sole discretion of the division. The requirement of this paragraph is waived if the removal of the merchantable forest product was accomplished under a previous owner.
(G) Before forest land can be certified eligible under this rule, the owner must demonstrate the intent to engage in management by completing a prescribed silvicultural activity.
(H) The owner of certified forest land so certified after the effective date of this rule must attend a minimum of eight hours of owner training approved by the chief within five years of the certification date of the forest land. At least six hours of the training required under this paragraph shall be of a core curriculum provided by an entity approved by the chief. The chief shall publish a list of entities approved under this paragraph.
(A) Each owner of forest land desiring to have land classified under the provisions of section 5713.22 of the Revised Code shall apply to the chief, through the local division representative, who shall make available the appropriate application forms.
(B) Each application, as defined in paragraph (B) of rule 1501:3-10-01 of the Administrative Code, shall be post marked or received by July first accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee of fifty dollars payable to the Ohio division of forestry.
(C) The agreement and request for classification of forest land forms, signed by the owner, shall be forwarded by the owner to the chief for review and approval. The signatures on the completed forms must be that of the person(s) meeting the definition of owner as specified in paragraph (Z) of rule 1502:3-10-01 of the Administrative Code.
(D) Upon receipt of the completed application and nonrefundable application fee, the chief will cause an examination of the forest land unless it is evident that a division representative has been involved in the application preparation. Such examination will be made at the convenience of the division and as soon as is practicable after the application is received.
(E) The chief shall forward a copy of the approved application, map and certificate of approval to the county auditor in the county where the eligible tract, lot or parcel is located. The auditor will then tax the property as prescribed by section 5713.23 of the Revised Code.
(F) Separate applications must be made for each non-contiguous tract, lot or parcel of land. Contiguous tracts, lots or parcels may be included on one application as long as the eligible forest land contained therein has the same owner.
(G) Should certification of forest land be denied, the owner may appeal in writing to the chief. The appeal must indicate the owner name, county in which the tract, lot, or parcel resides, parcel number and must state the reason(s) for appeal.
All forest land qualifying under the provisions of section 5713.22 of the Revised Code shall be managed according to a forest management plan approved by the chief. In order to be eligible under the provisions of section 5713.23 of the Revised Code, the owner shall follow the provisions of the forest management plan. At a minimum of every five years, the owner shall certify to the chief that specified practices have been completed according to the schedule in the approved management plan. The chief may cause an examination of the forest land to determine compliance with the forest management plan. Failure by the owner to comply with the provisions of the forest management plan shall constitute a violation of section 5713.26 of the Revised Code. If after notification of violation from the chief, and a failure to correct the violation within a one hundred and eighty day period of time, the chief shall deem such failure cause to void the owner's declaration of intent in accordance with section 5713.26 of the Revised Code and the land shall be withdrawn from tax reduction.
(A) The forest management plan shall contain the following information:
(1) Identification of the owner(s) of the tract, lot or parcel with address(es);
(2) Acres of eligible forest land and total acreage in the tract, lot or parcel;
(3) County and township of eligible forest land or municipal incorporation;
(4) A map which shall include the following:
(a) Boundaries indicated on a photocopy of an aerial photo, property plat or topographic map;
(b) Stands of forest management area within the eligible tract, lot or parcel delineated as to number and acreage;
(c) Physical features such as roads, streams, major buildings, and power lines;
(d) Property boundaries, section lines, survey numbers, and township lines;
(e) North arrow;
(5) A listing of the stands or forest management areas that comprise all of the forest land to be committed pursuant to the forest management plan. The listing shall include the following information for each stand or forest management area:
(a) A narrative listing of the merchantable forest products to be continually produced from the eligible tract, lot or parcel as a result of the implementation of the forest management plan;
(b) A stand or forest management area number;
(c) Forest type or species composition;
(d) Diameter class or classes;
(e) Site index or site class and soil type;
(f) Estimated acreage to the nearest whole acre;
(g) Basal area or stocking level;
(6) The owner's general forest land management objectives;
(7) The property's potential for: (a) timber production, (b) wildlife habitat, (c) soil and water conservation concerns, and (d) recreation and aesthetic considerations;
(8) The management plan shall include provisions incorporating best management practices to prevent nonpoint source pollution, erosion and minimize sedimentation of waterways in all commercial and non-commercial cuttings and all forest activities that directly or indirectly impact the forest productivity. All cultural and management activities shall be executed according to accepted specifications that minimize nonpoint source pollution. Any activity deviating from the best management practices shall first be approved by the division.
(9) A work schedule for each five of the next ten years which shall contain all commercial and non-commercial cuttings and practices, road construction and other treatments needed for continued certification.
(B) The following are land management requirements and prohibitions:
(1) The approved management plan shall prescribe non-commercial cuttings necessary to attain the production of the selected merchantable forest products specified in paragraph (A)(5)(a) of this rule. Non-commercial cuttings scheduled for an eligible tract, lot or parcel must be completed during the year in which they are scheduled.
(2) The owner shall submit a silvicultural operation and management plan otherwise known as a timber harvest notice of intent and timber harvest plan according to the procedure outlined in rule 1501:15-5-15 of the Administrative Code relating to agricultural pollution abatement before any commercial or non-commercial cuttings are implemented. A copy of the Ohio timber harvest planning program, timber harvest notice of intent and timber harvest plan shall also be provided to the division prior to initiation of the practice.
(3) Grazing in certified forest lands by domestic animals is prohibited.
(4) The owner shall take necessary precautions to protect the forest land from wildfires including adherence to all practices proposed by the division of forestry to prevent wildfires.
(5) The owner shall use cutting prescriptions provided they are consistent with the approved forest management plan and designed to assure the continuing production of merchantable forest products identified in the approved forest management plan. If commercial cuttings are identified in the plan, the landowner shall have a maximum of three years from the year the cutting is specified in the plan to complete the cutting.
(6) The owner of certified forest land so certified after the effective date of this rule shall use a master logger to perform any commercial cuttings. If, in the sole discretion of the chief of the division of forestry, the landowner has made reasonable attempts to obtain the services of a master logger but was unable to retain the services of a master logger the requirements of this paragraph may be waived if such a waiver is obtained prior to the commercial cutting.
(C) Management plan approval process:
(1) The forest management plan will be submitted to the local division representative who shall check the plan for compliance with the provisions of this rule.
(2) The forest management plan will be approved or disapproved by the local division representative. If disapproved, the reasons for such disapproval shall be supplied to the owner in writing.
(3) The owner may appeal in writing, within thirty days of its receipt, the decision of the local division representative to the district coordinator of the division. The district coordinator shall supply their decision to the owner in writing.
(4) The owner may appeal in writing, within thirty days of its recipt, the decision of the district coordinator to the chief. The chief shall supply their decision to the owner in writing.
(D) Forest management plan amendments:
An approved forest management plan may be extended or amended by the owner with advance notice to the division by filing a written request with the division indicating the nature and substance of the change. The division will determine the acceptability of the proposed change and shall inform the owner, in writing, of its determination within thirty days of receipt of the request. If the request for change is not approved by the district coordinator of the division, the owner may appeal, within thirty days of its receipt, the decision of the district coordinator by filing a written appeal to the chief. When a request for change is approved, the chief shall inform the owner of the necessary administrative and technical procedures to follow.
(A) As specified in section 5713.26 of the Revised Code, if an owner violates rules 1501:3-10-01 to 1501:3-10-06 of the Administrative Code, the chief shall issue a notice of violation to the owner at least one hundred eighty days prior to notifying the county auditor of such violation. The chief shall offer the owner an opportunity to meet with division representatives informally for the purpose of resolving alleged violations. If the parties can agree to a resolution of the alleged violations, then a written memorandum setting forth the terms of the agreement shall be prepared and signed by the owner and the chief. This memorandum shall become part of the approved forest management plan and execution of the terms shall commence before the end of the one hundred eighty day period.
(B) A notice of violation may be issued for any of the following reasons:
(1) The certified eligible tract, lot or parcel or portion of the certified land thereof is converted to a use which precludes or is inconsistent with management of the land for production of a merchantable forest product;
(2) The owner fails to comply with the approved management plan for such tract, lot or parcel at any time during the commitment period.
(3) The owner fails to attend forest owner training as required in paragraph (H) of rule 1501:3-10-02 of the Administrative Code.
(A) In the event a portion of the certified forest land is converted to a use for a purpose other than production of a merchantable forest product, the forest management plan shall be amended by the owner to exclude that portion so converted and will be filed with the division in advance of such conversion for approval. The portion of forest land not converted must meet all forest land eligibility requirements of rule 1501:3-10-02 of the Administrative Code.
(B) If notification of certified lands converted to a use for a purpose other than production of a merchantable forest product is not provided to the division as provided in paragraph (A) of this rule, the division shall issue a notice of violation for the tract, lot or parcel. The owner must reapply, as specified in rule 1501:3-10-03 of the Administrative Code, for certification of the portion not converted which shall be subject to the requirements of forest land eligibility of rule 1501:3-10-02 of the Administrative Code.
(C) The owner of a certified tract, lot or parcel shall not be subject to a notice of violation under this rule by reason of the fact that a merchantable forest product on the certified tract, lot or parcel or portion is, through no fault of the owner, damaged or destroyed by: fire, infestation, disease, storm, flood, or other natural disaster, act of God, accident, trespass or war. The owner shall, as soon as practicable, provide the division with notice of such disaster, the emergency steps taken to cope with the same, and steps taken to ensure the future productivity of the forest. The forest management plan shall be amended as necessary. If a merchantable forest product is to be cut or removed in connection with necessary salvage operations resulting from any such event, the owner shall give prior notice of cutting. Nothing in this rule shall be construed to subject any person to a notice of violation for immediate action taken in good faith in the event of an emergency.
(D) When certified forest land that subsequent to such certification comes under an ordinance, resolution, easement or other restriction that prohibits compliance with rules 1501:3-10-01 to 1501:3-10-06 of the Administrative Code, the certification is cancelled.
(E) Conversion of ownership
(1) When ownership of certified forest land changes through sale, deed transfer or any other means, the certification is cancelled except that an ownership change to effect the transfer of a certified property as a result of the death of the owner to their spouse shall not result in cancellation of certification upon the affirmation by the surviving spouse to the original agreement terms (FT-7) and forest management plan.
(2) Certification for certified forest land shall be cancelled if the owner authorizes a lessee, a purchaser under a land installment contract or any other person to manage such land in a manner that is not fully consistent with the forest management plan approved under rule 1501:3-10-04 of the Administrative Code.
(3) When certified forest land is divided or split into two or more ownerships, the certification is cancelled. Each new owner, including the original, may apply for certification as specified in rule 1501:3-10-02 of the Administrative Code.
(F) Forest land acreage may be added to certified forest land without application. Additions to certified forest land may be made through purchase or conversion from a non-forest land use. Together with existing certified forest land, additional acres must meet forest land eligibility requirements of rule 1501:3-10-02 of the Administrative Code. The forest management plan for the certified acres must be amended to incorporate the additional acres as per paragraph (C) of rule 1501:3-10-04 of the Administrative Code. A revised map shall be supplied for inclusion with the original application.
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 02/17/2009 and 05/01/2014
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 1503.01, 5713.24
Rule Amplifies: 5713.24
Prior Effective Dates: 2/16/93, 11/7/94, 1/9/04
Forest land certified as eligible by the division for taxation in accordance with section 5713.23 of the Revised Code prior to November 7, 1994 shall not be subject to rules 1501:3-10-02 to 1501:3-10-06 of the Administrative Code. These forest lands shall be subject to the following provisions.
(A) The forest land certified under this rule shall consist of a minimum of five contiguous acres and shall be no less than one hundred and twenty feet wide. It shall be accessible for management and meet the definition of forest land as specified in paragraph (N) of rule 1501:3-10-01 of the Administrative Code, except that no management plan will be required. For the purposes of forest land acreage determination, a minimum of one acre will be deducted for any house or building site.
(B) Forest land certified under this rule shall be protected from:
(1) Grazing; and
(C) Additions and deletions from certified forest land:
(1) Forest land acreage may be added to forest land certified under this rule only if together the total forest land meets all eligibility requirements of paragraphs (C) to (H) of rule 1501:3-10-02 of the Administrative Code. The minimum acreage eligible for certification shall be as specified in paragraph (A) of this rule.
(2) Forest land certified under this rule may not be converted to a use other than for production of a merchantable forest product. In the event of such a conversion, a notice of violation will be forwarded to the county auditor and the certification shall be canceled for the forest land.
(D) Changes in ownership:
(1) Any change in ownership shall result in the cancellation of forest land certification except that an ownership change to effect the transfer of a certified property as a result of the death of the owner to their spouse shall not result in the cancellation of certification upon the affirmation by the surviving spouse to the original agreement terms and forest management plan if applicable.
(2) When certified forest land is divided or split into two or more ownerships, the certification is canceled. Each new owner, including the original, may apply for certification as specified in rule 1501:3-10-02 of the Administrative Code.