TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam today announced that the Florida Forest Service is now accepting applications for the Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program from non-industrial private forest landowners. Applications for the program will be accepted through July 30.
“The southern pine beetle is one of the most economically devastating forest pests of the southeast, with periodic outbreaks leading to deaths of millions of pine trees,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “Landowners who take preventative action now can significantly reduce the risk of future outbreaks and resulting timber loss.”
The last major outbreaks in Florida occurred from 1999 to 2002, resulting in an estimated $59 million in timber losses. Since January, southern pine beetle infestations have so far been detected in Alachua, Bradford, Clay and Putnam counties.
The Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program provides incentive payments for non-industrial private forest landowners who conduct a first pulpwood thinning. The program also offers partial cost reimbursement for activities such as prescribed burning, mechanical underbrush treatments and the planting of longleaf or slash pine, which are less susceptible to southern pine beetle infestations.
“The Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program promotes healthy forest management practices that both improve the health and productivity of pine forests, while protecting them from future southern pine beetle outbreaks,” said Jim Karels, Florida State Forester.
The program is available for non-industrial private forest landowners in 44 northern Florida counties and is supported through a grant from the USDA Forest Service. Qualified landowners may apply for reimbursement of up to two different preventative activities per year. 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, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, 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.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.