The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, announced today that the Longleaf Pine Landowner Incentive Program is now accepting applications from eligible, non-industrial private forest landowners. The application period is now open until Friday, July 28.
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 highly valued for their resistance to damage by insects, disease, wildfire and storms. Longleaf pine forests have been dramatically reduced to less than four percent of historical area due to urbanization and conversion to other land uses. Florida is currently home to more than two million acres of Longleaf pine ecosystems, which is more than half of all known longleaf pine ecosystems.
The goal of the program is to increase the acreage of healthy Longleaf pine ecosystems in Florida by helping non-industrial private forest landowners make the long-term investment required to establish and maintain this valuable ecosystem.
The program offers incentive payments for completion of timber stand improvement, invasive species control, prescribed burning, planting Longleaf pine, native plant understory establishment and mechanical underbrush treatments. The program is offered for private lands in Florida counties located west of the Aucilla River and several counties near the Ocala National Forest.
Application forms and more information on program requirements and procedures can be found by visiting FreshFromFlorida.com or a local Florida Forest Service office. The program is supported through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation with funding from the Southern Company, USDA Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resource Conservation Service, US Department of Defense, Halliburton Company, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.