Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability
Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Forest and Resource Protection

What is the purpose of the program?

The Florida Forest Service aims to protect and manage the forest resources of Florida. In addition to managing over one million acres of state forests for multiple uses including timber, recreation, and wildlife habitat, the Florida Forest Service also provides services to landowners throughout the state with technical information and grant programs.

How is the program organized?

The Florida Forest Service is organized into a Tallahassee central office and 15 field units. The division has four bureaus that carry out its responsibilities.
  • Forest Management is responsible for coordinating and/or administering programs that provide land management activities to small, private, non-industrial landowners in the management of their lands. This bureau also provides technical direction for the Florida Forest Service field units, carrying out the land management responsibilities on over one million acres of forestland. Additionally, this bureau coordinates acquisition of new state forests and the purchase of in-holdings within existing state forests.
  • Forest Protection aims to provide a level of fire management that reduces threats to life and property, forests, and other at-risk wildland resources, while promoting natural resource management through the use of prescribed fire. This bureau has several programs addressing prevention, mitigation, assistance, and protection.
  • Field Operations implements the Florida Forest Service's forestry programs within 15 field units. The field units are grouped into four regions, each under a deputy chief of field operations.
  • Forest Logistics and Support provides customer service to the Director's Office and other Florida Service bureaus in support of the agency's mission. The bureau's customer service functions are separated into three sections, including Facilities and Construction, Equipment/Fleet, and Information Technology.

How many state forests are protected by the program?

The Forestry and Resource Protection Program manages 37 state forests and the Babcock Ranch Preserve, which collectively encompass 1,153,149 acres. In addition, the Florida Forest Service provides technical forest management assistance to other state land agencies, counties, and municipalities. From July 1, 2019, to May 31, 2020, the Florida Forest Service provided 15,904 hours of service to other public land management agencies. During this same period, the division spent 50,599 hours providing forest-related technical assists to non-industrial private landowners.

How many wildfires did the Florida Forest Service suppress during the last fiscal year?

The Florida Forest Service reports that a total of 2,160 fires were started between July 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020 and burned 67,514 acres. Of these, 1,858 had human causes, such as escaped debris burning, as opposed to natural causes, such as lightning. The Florida Forest Service's website provides the public with daily fire reports and other statistics, including current fire conditions.

How are these activities funded?

Fiscal Year: 2020-21
Fund Dollars Positions


Use of Drones, and Firefighter Training Requirements. The 2020 Legislature enacted Chapter 2020-94Laws of Florida, allowing the use of a drone by a non-law enforcement employee of the Florida Forest Service for the purposes of mitigating wildfire threats.  The 2020 Legislature also enacted Chapter 2020-135, Laws of Florida, requiring that the Florida Forest Service firefighter training curriculum include a minimum of 40 hours each of structural firefighter training and emergency medical training, and a minimum of 376 hours of wildfire training.  It also provides Wildland Firefighter training and certification.


Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
Prescribed Fire in Florida Strategic Plan 2013-2020, Florida Forest Service.

Websites of Interest
U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service in Florida
Friends of Florida State Forests
Performance Information


Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Chapters 259, 589, 590, and 591, and s. 253.036, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Florida Forest Service, 850-681-5800