The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, announced today that the Longleaf Pine Landowner Incentive Program is now accepting applications from eligible, non-industrial private forest landowners. The application period is open Monday, June 4, through Friday, July 13, 2018.
The goal of the program is to increase the acreage of healthy longleaf pine ecosystems in Florida by helping non-industrial private forest landowners make the long-term investment required to establish and maintain this valuable ecosystem. The program offers incentive payments for planting Longleaf pine, prescribed burning, native plant understory establishment, invasive species control, timber stand improvement, and mechanical underbrush treatments. The program is offered for private lands in Florida counties located west of the Aucilla River to the Choctawhatchee River, and several counties near the Ocala National Forest.
Longleaf pine forests are native to the southeastern United States and are among the most diverse ecosystems in North America. Longleaf pines provide high-quality wood products and are highly valued for their resistance to damage by insects, disease, wildfire and storms. Longleaf pine forests had been dramatically reduced to less than four percent of historical area due to urbanization and conversion to other land uses. Florida is currently home to more than 2 million acres of longleaf pine ecosystems, which is more than half of all known longleaf pine ecosystems.
Application forms and more information on program requirements and procedures can be found by visiting FreshFromFlorida.com or by contacting your local County Forester. The program is supported through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation with funding from the Southern Company, USDA Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at FloridaForestService.com.