[ FHP Southern Region ]

Forest Health Highlights 1997


The Florida Division of Forestry provides forest health protection assistance to state and private land managers within the State. This program is funded cooperatively by the State and the USDA Forest Service Forest Health Protection unit

FL Forest Type Distribution
Florida Forest Facts

blbullet.gif (864 bytes)Over 40% of Florida is forested (more than 14.6 million acres).

blbullet.gif (864 bytes)Over 80% of forested acreage in Florida is privately owned.

blbullet.gif (864 bytes)The National Forests in Florida (1,029,500 acres) provide recreational and wildlife benefits as well as timber products and jobs for thousands of people.

blbullet.gif (864 bytes)Emphasis on short-rotation management with artificial regeneration (tree planting) on privately owned land means that there is a constant and high demand for healthy seedlings. There were no significant pest outbreaks reported from any of the 7 forest tree nurseries, though, routine monitoring did detect low level activity for several common nursery pests.

blbullet.gif (864 bytes)The Florida Division of Forestry Forest Health section has the lead in a regional project to develop alternatives to methyl bromide fumigation to protect seedlings from soil-borne insects and pathogens.

blbullet.gif (864 bytes)Fusiform rust and pitch canker continue to be the most serious diseases of southern pines in Florida.

blbullet.gif (864 bytes)Starting in 1997, Florida experienced an unusual southern pine beetle (SPB) outbreak that occurred in Marion and Levy Counties (near the cities of Ocala and Silver Springs). This is the farthest south that SPB has been documented within the state, yet 1997 had record setting losses for the state. SPB killed almost 8,000 acres and the outlook is for continued problems.

blbullet.gif (864 bytes)The incidence and magnitude of pine engraver beetle infestations increased from October to December 1997, following an unusual and prolonged drought. Infestations were larger and more prevalent in stands that had been recently thinned.

blbullet.gif (864 bytes)Florida also experienced tree defoliation by pine sawflies, forest tent caterpillar and the cypress looper in 1996. Each of these outbreaks caused public nuisance, landowner concern, tree growth loss, but only limited mortality. The defoliation by forest tent caterpillar is continuing in 1997.

blbullet.gif (864 bytes)The Florida Division of Forestry is becoming more involved with investigations to develop biological control agents for exotic weed pests. They are about to undertake a project with the USDA Forest Service to control Cogangrass.


The Florida Division of Forestry
and USDA Forest Service

In spite of the relatively good health of Florida's forests, a variety of insects and diseases (both native and introduced), and human-caused impacts such as changes in land use patterns, continue to threaten the State's resources. To deal with this constantly changing mix of challenges, the Division of Forestry and the Forest Health Protection unit of the USDA Forest Service cooperate to prevent, detect, suppress and manage this multitude of threats. The partnership between the two agencies has worked for three decades to maintain and improve the health of Florida's forests.


Forest Health Protection contributions (dollars) to Florida Division of Forestry Cooperative Forest Health program, cooperative pest suppression projects, and National Forests in Florida pest suppression projects, 1995-1998.





Cooperative Forest Health Program





Cooperative suppression
southern pine beetle





NFs in Florida -
southern pine beetle






For additional information, contact:

Florida Deparment of Agricultrue
USDA Forest Service
Division of Forestry
Forest Health Protection
Forest Health Section
P.O. Box 2680
P.O. Box 147100
Asheville, NC 28802-2680
Gainesville, FL 32614-7100
(828) 257-4320
(352) 372-3505