Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Forest and Resource Protection

For assistance, call 850-681-5800 or visit https://www.fdacs.gov/Divisions-Offices/Florida-Forest-Service

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 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.

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

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.

How are these activities funded?

Fiscal Year: 2022-23
Title Fund Dollars Positions
PROGRAM: FOREST AND RESOURCE PROTECTION
FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE
572,396,391
1,180.00
TOTAL
572,396,391
1,180.00

Updates

Drone Operations. The 2022 Florida Legislature enacted Ch. 2022-142Laws 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.

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

Website