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Florida Land Steward

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Working Your Land

Timber

timber All of the Southern pines with commercial value grow in Florida.  These include slash pine, longleaf pine, loblolly pine, and sand pine. Cypress and hardwoods can also be sold for wood products but there is less control of establishment, spacing and density with other species. With adequate acreage, proper management and favorable markets pine stands can offer a very good return on investment. Managed forest stands, planted and natural, can also provide many other benefits such as wildlife habitat and recreation.  

Pine Straw

Pine straw is simply the needles that fall from pine trees every year. It is used by landscapers and homeowners as a mulch or ground cover in gardens and landscaping. Pine straw can be raked, baled, and sold to garden centers. Established stands of slash pine or longleaf pine that are about eight years of age, can begin producing pine straw.  Slash and longleaf are the only two Florida pine species that can be baled. 

The needles of other pines are either too short to be baled or are considered to be of inferior quality for use as mulch or cover. Pine straw production requires a clean, open understory to allow for workers to bale the product so intensive vegetation managment is required. Marketing is usually in the form of a contract between the landowner and baler.

Management Information

Florida Forest Stewardship Program - Forest Management: covers forest management techniques for timber and other benefits.

UF/IFAS Publications on Forest Management and Stewardship

ForestProductivity.net provides land managers with the most current, unbiased, science-based, forest productivity information available in support of best forest management decisions.

Florida Forest Service - Wildland Fire and Fire Prevention: the source for information and resources on prescribed fire, wildfires, fire prevention, current fire related data and advisories.

Southern Fire Exchange: Wildland fire resources for landowners, land managers, homeowners and educators.

 

Management Information

Florida Forest Stewardship Program - Pine Straw: introduces pine straw enterprise with links to more resources.

pine straw plantation

Management Assistance

Florida Forest Service’s Forest Stewardship Program: if you have 20 acres or more, Florida’s Forest Stewardship Program offers landowners assistance with developing a multiple-objective forest management plan and provides access to a multitude of educational resources and programs.

Florida’s Tree Farm Program: for landowners with 10 acres or more, the Tree Farm Program offers similar services and benefits as the Forest Stewardship Program above.

Florida Forest Service's Vendor Database: Find private assistance to complete plans and practices; vendors and buyers of forest products, etc

Florida Forest Stewardship Program - Directory: contacts to hundreds of forestry or natural resource agencies, organizations and businesses.

Selecting a Consulting Forester: publication covering useful tips on choosing a consulting forester to assist with forest management

Taxes

Property Taxes and Greenbelt Law: property owners who use their land for agriculture can save on their county property tax assessment through the state's "greenbelt" law. The law essentially says that any land that is used for bonifide agricultural purposes is classified as agricultural. This means the county property appraiser will tax the land according to its agricultural use-value rather than its value for potential development. This is a much lower tax rate and saves the property owner when it's time to pay the annual property tax bill. Apply with your county property appraiser. Find your County Property Appraiser


Florida Forest Stewardship Program - Timber Taxes
: How you treat the expenses and income associated with your forestland for tax purposes depends on the scope and nature of your timber-related activities. If you have a small holding with occasional transactions, you would most likely treat these activities as an investment. If your holdings produce regular and continuous transactions, your forestland may constitute a business. Regardless of your tax status, it is extremely important to maintain thorough records for all management activities and costs.

Support

Florida Forestry Association: provides opportunities to connect, learn and bring greater value to your land or business.

Forest Landowners Association: provides members, who own and operate more than 40 million acres of forestland in 48 states, with education, information, and national grassroots advocacy, which enables them to sustain their forestlands across generations.

last updated 9/19/16