Forest Legacy Program in Florida
Forestlands not only supply timber products, but also provide wildlife habitat, watershed protection, and recreation and aesthetic values. The rapid development of Florida’s forest areas to non-forest uses poses an ever-increasing threat to maintaining the state's valuable forestlands. Fragmentation and parcelization across our state is resulting in the loss of these valuable ecosystems and the biological, economic and social values they provide.
About 750 people move to the state every day and more and more forests are converted to non-forest uses. Each day about 240 acres of Florida’s forests disappear. How much and which forests should we conserve for our children and their children? The Forest Legacy Program can help us do that by complimenting the state’s existing conservation programs, including the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program.
The Forest Legacy Program (FLP) is a US Forest Service (USFS) grant program whose purpose is to protect environmentally important forest areas that are threatened by conversion to non forest uses and, through the use of voluntary conservation easements and fee simple purchases, to promote forestland protection and other conservation opportunities. The Florida Forest Service (FFS), as lead agency, is responsible for administering the program, identifying potential projects, and monitoring conservation easements.
Florida's Assessment of Need (AON) which contains an assessment of the forests and forest uses, a description of forces that are converting forests to non-forest uses, describes Eligibility Criteria developed by the State to identify important forest areas to be proposed as Forest Legacy Areas (FLA), and acts as a guide to implementation of FLP in the State was approved by the US Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns on April 11, 2005.
The following is a summary of projects proposed and acquired under the Forest Legacy Program since its inception in Florida:
Forest Legacy FY12
Two projects submitted. Final ranking and funding recommendations being compiled by USFS National Office.
Forest Legacy FY11
Two projects submitted with one approved for funding.
- Project: Northeast Florida Timberlands
- FLP Funding: $3,500,000
- Project Sponsor: City of Jacksonville
- Status: Awaiting budget appropriation by Congress
Forest Legacy FY10
Three projects submitted with one project funded.
- Project: St. Vincent Sound to Lake Wimico Ecosystem
- FLP Funding: $2,500,000
- Project Sponsor: State of Florida/ Florida Forest Service
- Status: Project is currently in the appraisal stage of the acquisition process.
Forest Legacy FY09
Two projects submitted. Florida FLP Coordinator served on National Ranking Panel. Project Submissions not funded under FLP.
Forest Legacy FY08
Florida did not submit a project.
Forest Legacy FY07
Florida’s FY07 Forest Legacy project was THE FIRST PROJECT IN NATION to bring together Forest Legacy and the Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI). This fee purchase is a significant buffer along the eastern boundary of Camp Blanding. FLP helped fund 3,071 acres with REPI program funding the remaining 425 acres.
- Project: NE Florida Timberlands Bull Creek (3,071 acres)
- FLP Funding: $2,250,000
- Project Sponsor: St. Johns River Water Management District
- Status: Closed August 2007
Forest Legacy FY06
Project submissions not funded under FLP.
Forest Legacy FY05
- Project: Newnan’s Lake – Rayonier (2,420 acres)
- FLP Funding: $493,000
- Project Sponsor:
- Status: Closed June 2005
The Florida Forest Service, as lead agency for Forest Legacy is seeking public agency partners for future Forest Legacy projects. Forest Legacy Project proposals applications for the next federal budget cycle are now being accepted.
John Barrow, Government Operations Consultant II
Florida Forest Service
Forest Management Bureau, Land Acquisition
3125 Conner Boulevard
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1650
Telephone: 850/ 488-1425
FAX: 850/ 921-6724