State agriculture officials are hoping to assist North and Central Florida landowners in preventing timber loss through a program meant to reduce the risk of a devastating forest insect.
Through the end of June, the Florida Forest Service is accepting applications for the Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program on their website. In the past, Southern Pine Beetle outbreaks have cost the industry millions of dollars in timber loss.
“The Southern Pine Beetle devastates forests,” said Erin Gillespie, Florida Department of Agriculture Spokeswoman. “Obviously, we work to control it on state forests, but there are also private landowners who have pine and this assistance program will help them control it.”
And, Gillespie says the program is offered for 44 counties.
“Mostly through the Panhandle, North, and North Central Florida,” she added. “And, some of the activities that the financial assistance could help would be replanting clean pine, conducting brush treatments, like controlled burns to get rid of the beetle, and also, thinning operations that would thin out the forest to control the beetle.”
Interested landowners can apply for up to $10,000 in funding. For more information, contact your local Florida Forest Service field unit.
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