Florida has over 17 million acres of forests. Seventy-one percent of those acres are privately owned; the rest are owned by the public (29%) and forest industry (6%). These “Working Forests” are managed to produce a variety of wood and wood fiber products. In addition, these forests also support outdoor recreational opportunities for residents and millions of visitors to the state including important non-market based values, such as clean water, greenspace and other ecosystem services.
Florida’s forest products industry and private landowners contribute a wealth of support to many communities. Forestry’s overall state economic impact is $25 billion and the state’s forests provide a unique ecosystem serving many environmental benefits.
Florida Forestry Wildlife Best Management Practices (WBMPs) for State Imperiled Species were developed through a partnership between the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Florida Forest Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
For owners of forest property in the state of Florida, the Florida Forest Service (FFS) and FWC work together in administering the WBMP program. Toward that end, the FFS adopted Rule 5I-8 F.A.C. to provide additional incentives for landowners to follow WBMPs.
- Forestry Rule 5I-8 became effective October 21, 2014 to address the 16 State Imperiled Species which are considered to be potentially vulnerable to silviculture operations including ten aquatic species, two burrowing animals, and four nesting birds.
- Forest landowners in the state can take advantage of incentives offered through Rule 5I-8 by submitting a Notice of Intent to use WBMPs to the FFS and FWC.
The Silviculture WBMP Notice of Intent (NOI) is a voluntary, one-time pledge indicating a landowners intent to adhere to forestry wildlife BMPs on their property. Once a landowner has submitted the NOI to the FFS and FWC, and properly implement WBMPs they will no longer be required to obtain a permit authorizing the incidental take of State Imperiled Species during bonafide ongoing forestry operations. In addition, they will not be subject to any fines or penalties associated with an incidental take of the State Imperiled Species covered by the WBMP Manual.
Please feel free to contact the Florida Forest Service for more information about WBMPs or visit our website at http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Florida-Forest-Service/Best-Management-Practices-BMP