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.
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 hosted 16,966,132 visitors on Forest Service lands, provided 12,236 hours of service to other public land management agencies, and 66,316 hours providing forest-related technical assists to non-industrial private landowners.
The Florida Forest Service reports that a total of 2,448 fires were started from January 1, 2020, through March 17, 2021, and burned 48,497 acres. Of these, 1,537 had human causes, such as escaped debris burning, as opposed to natural causes, such as lightning. Additionally the Forest Service helped protect 26,679,830 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.
Drone Operations. The 2022 Florida Legislature enacted Ch. 2022-142, Laws of Florida, which allows law enforcement employees of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Forest Service from using a drone to manage and eradicate invasive exotic plants and animals on public lands and to suppress and mitigate wildfire threats.
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
Florida Forest Service, 850-681-5800