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Forest Service Accepting Applications to Help Landowners Combat Pine Beetles through June 29

Pitch tubes of the southern pine beetle (SPB) on outer bark. Photograph by James. R. Meeker, FDACS, Division of Forestry. Inset: Lateral view of southern pine beetle. Photograph by David T. Almquist, University of Florida.

Source:  Florida Forest Service

To help combat the invasive Southern Pine Beetle, which is currently present in 52 infestation sites throughout six Florida counties, the Florida Forest Service is accepting applications for the 2018 Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program from non-industrial, private forest landowners through June 29, 2018.  The program is limited to 44 northern Florida counties, the known range of the southern pine beetle.

The southern pine beetle (SBP) is one of the most economically devastating forest pests of the southeast, with periodic outbreaks leading to deaths of millions of pine trees. In 2017, 260 SPB infestations were reported in Florida, killing trees on 1,768 acres. This pales in comparison to the last major outbreaks between 1999 and 2002, which caused an estimated $59 million in timber losses. Since it was first offered in 2005, the program has been implemented on more than 183,000 acres and helped thousands of landowners.

These small infestations average less than an acre now, but they have the ability to expand rapidly this time of year,” said Jim Karels, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service. “It’s imperative that we remain vigilant to keep this invasive pest at bay.”

The Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program, supported through a grant by the United States Forest Service, provides incentive payments for landowners who conduct a first pulpwood thinning and offers partial cost reimbursement for activities, such as prescribed burning, mechanical underbrush treatments, and the planting of longleaf or slash pine rather than the loblolly pine, the beetle’s preferred species. 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 program, use the following link: Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program.  

Pine Beetle Prevention Program Overview

The program offers partial cost reimbursement or incentive payments for:
  • first pulpwood thinning
  • prescribed burning
  • planting longleaf and/or slash pine
  • mechanical underbrush treatments

All payments are made at specified per-acre or per-seedling rates. Please see the Technical Guidelines Booklet for available practices, practice requirements, and payment rates.

The program is limited to 44 northern Florida counties located within the range of the southern pine beetle. Qualified landowners may apply for up to two approved practices per year. The minimum tract size requirement is 10 acres (5 acres for First Pulpwood Thinning) and funding requests may not exceed $10,000. Only one application per landowner is permitted per year.

To apply to the program, use the link below for the SPB Assistance Application, or contact your local  County Forester.

2018 Guidelines and Forms

Applications received in Gainesville received (or postmarked) after the end date will not be considered, or will receive lowest priority ranking for any remaining available funds. All applications received at any time during the sign-up period will be equally evaluated and ranked for funding approval using established criteria. The program is supported through temporary grants from the USDA Forest Service and limited funding is available.

 

PG

Author: admin - webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu


Permanent link to this article: http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/phag/2018/05/25/forest-service-accepting-applications-to-help-landowners-combat-pine-beetles-through-june-29/