Unfortunately, the Forestry Development Act specifies a minimum of 5.0 acres for DNR's sponsored forestry program. HOWEVER, according to Illinois Department of Revenue's website:
Wooded acreage that is not part of a farm may qualify for a reduced assessment under other statutory provisions. Property owners may wish to investigate one of the following options (1) DNR Forestry Management Plan (Section 10-150 of the Property Tax Code), (2) Non-clear cut assessment (Section 10-153 of the Property Tax Code), (3) Open space assessment (Section 10-155 of the Property Tax Code), or (4) Registered land or land encumbered by conservation rights (Section 10-166 through 10-168 of the Property Tax Code).
ADDITIONALLY, “Forestry” is included in the “farm” definition. (Section 1-60 of the Property Tax Code). To qualify as forestry, all of the following criteria must be met:
(1) The principle crop must be trees.
(2) The tract must be used primarily for timber production (not just cutting of firewood).
(3) The tract must be systematically managed for timber production. A Certified Tree Farm, a Forestry Development Plan, or a plan that is substantially similar to an FDA plan are acceptable examples of “systematic management for timber production”.
(4) The tract must have been systematically managed for timber production for the preceding two years. (Section 10-110 of the Property Tax Code requires parcels to be in a qualified farm use for the two years preceding the current assessment year.)
If all of these qualifications are met, the property owner is not required to have an approved forest management plan with the Department of Natural Resources to receive the preferential farm assessment. (Property owners may wish to file a plan with DNR for other reasons, however.). The chief county assessment officer may ask for verification that the property is being systematically managed for timber production.
FYI…this information is posted on http://www.revenue.state.il.us/LocalGovernment/PropertyTax/farmland.htm
To answer your question...yes, there is a way to receive a reduced assessment without having an FDA-approved Forest Management Plan on file with DNR.
Hope this information helped you :-)