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Apply for the Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program through July 31

Apply for the Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program through July 31

The Southern Pine Beetle Florida Township Hazard Rating Map is based on a model developed by the USDA Forest Service. The model computes hazard scores based on input variables that estimate the density and basal area of the most susceptible host pine species (e.g., loblolly and shortleaf pine) and soil drainage characteristics. Each township score represents an average for the forested areas within the township. The hazard map is subject to change from year to year with changing forest conditions and improvements made to the hazard model. Hazard is an estimate of where SPB infestations may be likely to develop based on forest conditions; it does not mean that SPB infestations are predicted for a certain area in a given year.

The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, announced on June 15, 2017 that the Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program will accept applications from non-industrial, private forest landowners through July 31.

The southern pine beetle (SPB) is one of the most economically devastating forest pests of the southeast, with periodic outbreaks leading to deaths of millions of pine trees. In 2016, 222 SPB infestations were reported in Florida, killing trees on over 1,100 acres. Those numbers are small compared to the last major outbreaks that occurred in Florida from 1999 to 2002, which resulted in an estimated $ 59 million in timber losses.

The program, supported through a grant by the United States Forest Service, provides incentive payments for:
  • first pulpwood thinning
  • prescribed burning
  • mechanical underbrush treatments
  • planting of longleaf or slash pine rather than the loblolly pine (the beetle’s preferred species)

Since it was first offered in 2005, the program has supported these practices on more than 167,000 acres and helped thousands of landowners. The program is limited to 44 northern Florida counties, the known range of the southern pine beetle. Qualified landowners can apply for up to two different practices per year and funding requests may not exceed $ 10,000. 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,  contact your County Forester or visit FreshFromFlorida.com/SouthernPineBeetle/Prevention.

The Florida Forest Service manages more than 1 million acres of public forest land while protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. To learn more about Florida Forest Service programs, visit FloridaForestService.com.

PG

Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu

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Permanent link to this article: http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/03/apply-for-the-southern-pine-beetle-prevention-program-through-july-31/