Applications Open For Pine Beetle Assistance And Prevention Program

July 9, 2024

Applications are now being accepted for the 2024 Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program for non-industrial, private forest landowners. The program runs through July 26 and includes 44 northern Florida counties – the southern pine beetle’s known range.

“Pine forests are vital to Florida’s economy and our natural environment, and the southern pine beetle is one of the most economically devastating forest pests in the southeast” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson. “This program protects our important timber resources by assisting the small, private landowners who manage almost half of our state’s forest lands.”

First offered in 2005, the Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program has been implemented on more than 210,000 acres and helped thousands of Florida landowners.

“Active and preventative forest management programs like this are the most effective way to prevent losses and outbreaks,” said Rick Dolan, Director of the Florida Forest Service. “These same management practices also benefit timber growth, wildfire prevention, and wildlife habitat.”

Previous outbreaks have destroyed thousands of acres of timber. Florida’s last major southern pine beetle outbreak caused an estimated $59 million in timber losses on over 24,000 acres between 1999 and 2002.

The Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program, supported through a grant by the U.S. Forest Service, provides incentive payments for landowners who have overstocked pine stands and need to conduct a first thinning. In addition, it offers partial cost reimbursement for activities that can mitigate southern pine beetle activity, such as prescribed burning, mechanical underbrush treatments, and the planting of longleaf or slash pine rather than loblolly pine, the beetle’s preferred species. 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.

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