TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, the Florida Forest Service announced the launch of the 2020 Longleaf Pine Private Landowner Incentive Program. Applications will be accepted Wednesday, June 10, 2020 through Wednesday, July 8, 2020.
The primary objective of the Longleaf Pine Private Landowner Incentive Program is to increase the acreage of healthy longleaf pine forests in Florida by assisting eligible, non-industrial private forest landowners with the long-term investment necessary to establish and maintain the valuable longleaf pine ecosystem.
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 valued for their resistance to damage by insects, disease, wildfire and storms. Due to urbanization and conversion to other land uses, longleaf pine forests have been dramatically reduced and now cover less than four percent of their historical range. Florida is home to more than 2 million acres of longleaf pine ecosystems, which represents more than half of all current longleaf pine forests.
The Longleaf Pine Private Landowner Incentive Program offers incentive payments for the completion of timber stand improvement, invasive species control, prescribed burning, planting longleaf pine, establishing native plant understory and mechanical underbrush treatments. Private lands located within the 58 counties north of Lake Okeechobee, the historical range of longleaf pine, are eligible for the program.
The Longleaf Pine Private Landowner Incentive Program is supported through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation with funding from the Southern Company, the U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Fish and 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.
–Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services