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Florida Forest Service Accepting Applications for Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention

Florida Forest Service Accepting Applications for Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention

The Florida Forest Service is now accepting applications for the Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program. The application period runs from today through June 30. The program is available to non-industrial private forest landowners.

“The southern pine beetle is one of the most environmentally devastating forest pests in the southeast. We encourage forest owners to take proactive measures now to prevent timber loss during future outbreaks,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.

Periodic outbreaks can rapidly kill millions of pine trees and deplete tens of thousands of acres of timber resources. The most recent series of major southern pine beetle outbreaks resulted in an estimated $59 million in timber loss between 1999 and 2002.

The Southern Pine Beetle Assistance Program is offered for non-industrial private lands in 44 northern Florida counties and provides financial assistance for the following:

Conducting a first pulpwood thinning.

Conducting prescribed burning operations.

Conducting mechanical underbrush treatments.

Planting longleaf or slash pine.

“The Southern Pine Beetle Assistance Program now offers greater flexibility to landowners, enhancing their ability to help reduce the risk of southern pine beetle outbreaks in Florida,” said Jim Karels, Florida State Forester.

To learn more about this program and to obtain an application form, visit the Southern Pine Beetle Prevention web page or contact a local Florida Forest Service field unit. Qualified landowners may apply for up to two approved preventative practices per year. Funding requests may not exceed $10,000 annually. All qualifying applications will be evaluated and ranked for approval. This program is supported through a grant from the U.S. Forest Service.

The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages 37 state forests on more than 1 million acres of public forest land while protecting 26 million acres of homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire.

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