Florida Forest Stewardship Program

The Florida Forest Stewardship Program is designed to encourage the state's private non-industrial forest landowners to practice stewardship. Specifically, the program objectives are as follows: 

  • Encourage non-industrial landowners to manage their properties according to the multiple-use concept.
  • Increase awareness among the general public of the important amenities that Florida's forestlands, particularly non-industrial private forestlands, provide to all citizens of the state.
  • Improve coordination among natural resource agencies and groups, both public and private, to better serve the state's landowners and achieve common goals.

Benefits to Landowners

Landowners will receive:

  • A meeting on their property with a team of resource professionals that will contribute to the development of the plan.
  • A customized management plan that is based on the landowner's objectives. The plan will include forest stand characteristics, property maps, management recommendations, and a five-year time line for future planning.
  • A loose-leaf binder organized to be the landowner's one source of information for managing their property.
  • Documentation of active management on the property that may help reduce tax liability.
  • An opportunity for future public recognition as a certified "Forest Steward".
  • A quarterly Stewardship newsletter developed and distributed by the University of Florida, IFAS Cooperative Extension Service.
  • The peace of mind in knowing that their property is being managed in a sustainable manner.

Getting into the Program

Contact your local county forester office of the Florida Forest Service, and tell them that you would like to have a Forest Stewardship Plan written for your property. The forester will ask you to complete a Forest Stewardship Application and answer any additional questions that you may have about the program.

Once the application is completed and returned to the county forester, a meeting will be scheduled between you and the resource professionals who will develop your plan.

For ease of signing up in the Forest Stewardship Program, you may complete the stewardship application, print, and send to: Conservation Programs Manager, Florida Forest Service, 3125 Conner Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1650.

Plan Development and Preparation

It is the landowner's responsibility to select the primary natural resource professional who will develop the plan. This lead professional will then contact the other resource specialists and schedule the field meeting.

Landowners that own more than 160 acres of land are encouraged to choose a private consultant rather than an agency professional to prepare their management plan. The services of a private consultant can be advantageous in a long-term commitment to land management activities and the periodic need for on the ground services. Often times, state agency personnel are pulled away from management activities to address other matters and may not be available to assist the landowner when needed.

Financial Assistance for Plan Development

Landowners who hire a private natural resource consultant may be eligible to receive assistance with the plan preparation expenses depending on available funding. The cost of a plan is based on the size of the landowner's property. In many cases the landowner may have no out of pocket expense for their Stewardship Plan. To initiate the payment process, the lead natural resource consultant and landowner must complete the "Agreement, Forest Stewardship Program, Consultant Management Plan Preparation" form and receive approval from the Stewardship Coordinator in Tallahassee prior to the field visit. Once the plan is completed and approved by all parties, the consultant will submit a bill to the State. Any charges above the established Stewardship rate are the responsibility of the landowner.

Stewardship Forest Certification

Certification is the award reserved for landowners that have consistently practiced good management on their land, and followed the recommendations within their Stewardship Plan. Some landowners that have been practicing good forest stewardship even before they received their written plan may be eligible immediately for certification, while other may take several years to complete their recommended practices and be awarded certification. Contact your local county forester to determine if you are ready for certification. The forester will complete a checklist, forward it to the Conservation Programs Manager, and will schedule an on-site inspection to view the landowner's accomplishments with a Stewardship Certification team. If the Stewardship Certification Team agrees that the landowner has shown good progress, he or she will be given a Stewardship sign to display on their property and will receive a laser-etched walnut plaque, stating their certification status, for display in their home.



Contact Florida Forest Stewardship Program

Contact Florida Forest Stewardship Program

Tony Grossman, Conservation Programs Manager
Florida Forest Service
3125 Conner Blvd., R-2
Tallahassee, Florida  32399-1650
Phone: (850) 414-9907


Service Area

Statewide Program in:
  • Florida