Florida Forest Service invites funding applications from private landowners under Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program; scheme offers incentive payments for projects including prescribed burns, pulpwood thinning

TALLAHASSEE, Florida , June 6, 2014 (press release) – Applications From Private Forest Landowners Will Be Accepted June 6-July 18

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced today that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Florida Forest Service is now accepting applications for the Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program. The sign-up period will run from June 6 through July 18 and is available for non-industrial private forest landowners.

“The southern pine beetle is one of the most destructive forest pests in the Southeast,” said Commissioner Putnam. “By taking preventative measures now, Florida's private landowners can greatly reduce their risk of timber loss during future outbreaks.”

Periodic outbreaks can rapidly kill millions of pine trees and deplete tens of thousands of acres of timber resources. The most recent series of major southern pine beetle outbreaks resulted in an estimated $59 million in timber loss between 1999 and 2002.

The Southern Pine Beetle Assistance Program is offered for private lands in 44 northern Florida counties. (See a map of the eligible counties.)

The program provides incentive payments for the following:

  • Conducting a first pulpwood thinning
  • Conducting prescribed burning operations
  • Conducting mechanical underbrush treatments
  • Planting longleaf or slash pine

“Since 2005, we have assisted many private forest land owners through this program,” said Jim Karels, Director of the Florida Forest Service. “More than 150,000 Florida acres have been treated for southern pine beetle prevention.”

To learn more about this program and obtain an application form, contact a local Florida Forest Service office or visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com/SouthernPineBeetle/Prevention. Qualified landowners may apply for no more than two approved preventative practices per year. Funding requests may not exceed $10,000 annually. All qualifying applications will be evaluated and ranked for approval. This program is supported through a grant from the U.S. Forest Service.

The Florida Forest Service manages more than 1 million acres of public forestland while protecting 26 million acres of homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire.

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