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 mission of the Florida Forest Service is to protect and manage the forest resources of Florida, ensuring that they will be available for future generations. The Forest Service manages over 1 million acres of state forests for multiple public uses, including timber, recreation, and wildlife habitat. The Forest Service offers technical information and grant programs to landowners to help them improve their forestland, and through wildfire prevention and suppression, work to protect homeowners from the threat of damage in a natural, fire-dependent environment.

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 38 state forests and the Babcock Ranch Preserve, which collectively encompass 1,153,693 acres. In addition, the Florida Forest Service provides technical forest management assistance to other land management agencies. During Fiscal Year 2020-21 the Florida Forest Service provided 16,841 hours of service to other public land management agencies. During this same period, the division spent 55,617 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 2,303 fires were started between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, and burned 70,947 acres. Of these, 1,918 had human causes, such as escaped debris burning, as opposed to natural causes, such as lightning. Additionally the Forest Service helped protect 26,697,830 acres of wildlands from wildfires. 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: 2021-22
Fund Dollars Positions

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.
Florida’s Forest Action Plan 2020 Update, Florida Forest Service.
Florida Conservation Lands Acreage Summary Report, Florida Natural Areas Inventory 

Websites of Interest
U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service in Florida
Friends of Florida State Forests
Florida Natural Areas Inventory
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 (Forest Service 1, R1)