Florida Forest Service offering incentives to grow Longleaf Pine trees

BAY COUNTY, Fla. - The Florida Forest Service announced its longleaf pine incentive program that offers you money to help the ecosystem.
Longleaf pines are trees native to the southeast, and more specifically, the Panhandle.

Florida Forest Service Senior Forester, Joe Vanderwerff, said longleaf pines are commonly known to be used for timber, construction and recreation.

"The longleaf trees, they grow big, they used to use them for ships and they're a very high demand wood product," he said.

But he said there has been a significant decline in longleaf pine populations, and they are even considered to be endangered.
"There was a think about 90 million acres of longleaf pine and now it has declined to a couple million acres," he said.

That's why the Florida Forest Service is launching its longleaf pine incentive program.

Vanderwerff explained that this offers private landowners a chance to receive cash incentives through a federal grant just by planting or helping longleaf pines.

"It's usually per-acre is how we do it, you'll get some money back after you complete the practice."

He said you can earn the money in several ways: planting longleaf pine, prescribed burning, native plant understory establishment, invasive species control, timber stand improvement and mechanical underbrush treatments.

To be eligible you must have at least five acres of land, and no more than 5,000.

More information on the longleaf pine incentive program can be found here.

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