By June 19, 2017 Read More →

Florida Forest Service Announces Program for Landowners to Combat Devastating Forest Pest ………

Eligible counties for Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program

Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Walton & Washington County, Fla. – The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, announced today that the Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program will accept applications from non-industrial, private forest landowners through July 31.

The southern pine beetle (SPB) is one of the most economically devastating forest pests of the southeast, with periodic outbreaks leading to deaths of millions of pine trees. In 2016, 222 SPB infestations were reported in Florida, killing trees on over 1,100 acres. Those numbers are small compared to the last major outbreaks that occurred in Florida from 1999 to 2002, which resulted in an estimated $59 million in timber losses.

The program, supported through a grant by the United States Forest Service, provides incentive payments for landowners who conduct a first pulpwood thinning and offers partial cost reimbursement for activities such as prescribed burning, mechanical underbrush treatments, and the planting of longleaf or slash pine rather than the loblolly pine, the beetle’s preferred species.

Since it was first offered in 2005, the program has supported these practices on more than 167,000 acres and helped thousands of landowners. The program is limited to 44 northern Florida counties, the known range of the southern pine beetle. Qualified landowners can apply for up to two different practices per year and funding requests may not exceed $10,000. All qualifying applications received during the submission period will be evaluated and ranked for approval.

To obtain an application or to learn more about the Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program, visit FreshFromFlorida.com/SouthernPineBeetle/Prevention.

The Florida Forest Service manages more than one million acres of public forest land while protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. To learn more about Florida Forest Service programs, visit FloridaForestService.com.

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