Tallahassee, Fla.– Applications are now being accepted for the 2021 Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention program for non-industrial, private forest landowners. They will be open through June 18.
Florida Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Forest Service made the announcement on Monday for the program. It is limited to 44 northern Florida counties, which is the known range of the southern pine beetle.
“Florida’s pine forests are an essential resource for our state, and landowners play a vital part in protecting them,” said Fried. “Together, we can stop the spread of the southern pine beetle and ensure that Floridians and visitors are able to enjoy the many benefits our forests provide.”
The southern pine beetle (SPB) is one of the most economically devastating forest pests in the Southeastern United States. The last major SPB outbreak in Florida occurred between 1999 and 2002 and caused an estimated $59 million in timber losses on more than 24,000 acres. The program promotes forest management practices that reduce the risk and impacts of SPB infestations.
“Right now, southern pine beetle activity is relatively low in Florida, and by taking preventative measures, we can keep it that way,” said Erin Albury, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service. “There’s no time like the present to protect Florida’s forests.”
The U.S. Forest Service supports the Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program through a grant. 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 FDACS.gov/SPBPrevention.