Tallahassee, FL. — Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Forest Service are celebrating 80 years of Florida state forests this October, which is also Florida State Forest Awareness Month, with events throughout the state. Since its establishment in 1936, the Florida state forest system has evolved and grown into one of the most extensive and well-managed state forest systems in the nation, with 37 state forests covering 1.1 million acres and attracting 2.2 million annual visitors.
“Florida's state forests are vital ecological and economic resources for our state,” said Commissioner Adam H. Putnam. “After 80 years, Florida's forests still provide an abundance of benefits from clean air and water, to diverse plant and animal communities, and recreational opportunities.”
Florida's state forests provide plentiful opportunities for public recreation, including: hiking, biking, camping, swimming, paddling, hunting, fishing and more.
“To protect these vital resources, the Florida Forest Service uses sound forest management practices,” said Jim Karels, Florida State Forester. “Through extensive reforestation efforts, prescribed fire treatments, wildlife restoration, invasive species control and more, the Florida Forest Service and its partners have worked together to keep our state forests vibrant, productive and sustainable.”
Over the last 15 years, the Florida Forest Service has planted and seeded more than 77,000 acres of trees, including pine, cypress and hardwood. On average, 3.5 million tree seedlings are planted every year on state forests in Florida. In addition, an average of more than 160,000 state forest acres are treated with prescribed fire each year to ensure ecosystem health and reduce wildfire risk.
To learn more or to find out how you can support a Florida state forest near you, visit the Friends of Florida State Forests website.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at FloridaForestService.com.