The Classification of Land as Forest Land (PA 490)

What Is PA 490?
Public Act 490 provides a use-value assessment of land classified as either forest, farm, open space, or maritime heritage. Forest land classification under PA 490 provides financial incentive for landowners to maintain their land as forest land. Regulations Concerning Classification of Forest Land  (Sections 12-107d-1 through 12-107d-5 the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies (RCSA)) Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) Concerning Classification of Forest Land.
Why PA 490?
It costs a community less to provide services to undeveloped land than to residential, commercial, or industrial lands. Forest land contributes to the high quality of life in Connecticut, and as such warrants a tax incentive to prevent its development.
Interested in Classifying your Land as Forest Land under the PA 490 Program?
For a property owner to have their land classified as “forest land” for property tax purposes, they must:

The purpose of the Qualified Forester’s Report (QFR) is to determine whether the individual property meets the established standards for forest land. Only certified foresters who have received the appropriate training from the State Forester and met their qualifications may submit this report.

Directory of Certified Forest Practitioners
Note that PA 490 Qualified Foresters are listed in the "Foresters" section, and have "490" in the right-hand column associated with their name.

The Value of Classified Forest Land under the PA 490 Program

For town-wide property tax re-evaluations occurring after October 1, 2020, the recommended PA 490 Forest Land value is $390/acre. This is an increase from the 2015 value of $240/acre, the 2010 value which was $130/acre, and the 2005 value of $190/acre. For further explanation, please see the memo to Connecticut Municipal Assessors and Certified Foresters qualified to evaluate land for Forest Land classification.

Public Act 490 Land Values (Link to CT Dept. of Agriculture)

Statutory Definition of "Forest Land"

(Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) Sec. 12-107b)

. . . any tract or tracts of land aggregating twenty-five acres or more in area bearing tree growth that conforms to the forest stocking, distribution and condition standards established by the State Forester . . .and consisting of . . .

(A) one tract of land of twenty-five or more contiguous acres, which acres may be in contiguous municipalities,

(B) two or more tracts of land aggregating twenty-five acres or more in which no single component tract shall consist of less than ten acres, or

(C) any tract of land which is contiguous to a tract owned by the same owner and has been classified as forest land pursuant to this section.

Parcels and acres classified as PA 490 land

as of August 3, 2022, with 80% of towns reporting

490 Classification Number of Parcels Number of Acres
Farm (including any underwater farmlands used for aquaculture) 11,372 216,159
Forest 9,978 390,468
Open Space 10,490 129,789
10 Mill 62 6,311
TOTAL 31,902 742,727
Application Forms:

Application to the Assessor for Classification of Land as Forest Land - PDFWord Form

Qualified Forester's Report Form - PDF, Word Form

Additional Information:

Examining Land for Classification as Forest Land - Guidance for Woodland Owners, Foresters and Assessors

Public Act 490 Fact Sheet

10 Mill Fact Sheet

Form for Annual Qualified Forester's Report to State Forester 

Annual Municipal Report to State Forester

Individuals seeking more information on forest land taxation are encouraged to contact their local tax assessor.

Content last updated in August 2023.