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Florida Land Steward

Florida Land Steward

About Us

On behalf of the UF/IFAS Florida Land Steward Program (formerly called the Florida Forest Stewardship Program) and the Florida Land Steward Partnership  we welcome you to a growing network of family forest landowners, extension agents, public and private natural resource professionals, and others involved with Florida’s forests and natural resources. An extension program of the UF/IFAS School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences, the mission of the Florida Land Steward Program is to help and encourage private landownwers to manage their lands for long-term environmental, economic and social benefits.

Florida Land Steward logoWe encourage you to explore and employ the many resources that are available to assist you in your land management planning and activities. The University of Florida / IFAS, Florida Forest Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other partners have a wealth of expertise and resources available to help you with the many challenges you may be dealing with or will likely deal with in the management of your property, whether it be controlling invasive species, selling timber, providing habitat for wildlife, planning for the future or regenerating a forest stand. 

Learn more about the Florida Forest Stewardship Program from this video. 

Forest stewardship is a commitment to your land now and for the future. If managed properly your land can yield economic and environmental benefits for generations to come. The Forest Stewardship Program of the Florida Forest Service seeks to help private landowners develop a plan designed to increase the economic value of their forestland while maintaining its environmental integrity for future generations.

  • Multiple-use Land Management

    Stewardship is based on the multiple-use land management strategy. A multiple-use resource management plan provides for any combination of these benefits:

    • timber
    • soil
    • aesthetics
    • wildlife
    • water
    • recreation
  • Provisions

    The Forest Stewardship Program includes the following provisions for forest landowners:

    • Opportunities to learn about natural resources management and receive technical assistance
    • Recognition for your efforts with publicity, a certificate, and a sign for your land
    • An opportunity to set an example for other landowners and the public
    • Documentation of active management which may reduce tax liability

    This is a voluntary program. No special obligations are placed on participating landowners.

  • Who is Eligible for the Program?

    Private landowners who own at least 20 acres of land who do not manufacture forest products or provide public utility services are eligible to participate in the Forest Stewardship Program.

  • Who Are Forest Stewards?

    Forest Stewards are landowners who:

    • do not presently actively manage their land but want to develop a management plan according to the stewardship concept;
    • or are engaged in management of a single resource and would like to diversify their activity;
    • or are currently managing their land for multiple resources and deserve recognition.
  • How to Become a Forest Steward

    black and white forest stewardship logoIf you are interested in becoming a Forest Steward, fill out the Program application linked below and contact a Forest Stewardship Program representative to make arrangements to begin developing your Forest Stewardship Management Plan. The plan will contain a description of your property and recommended practices for achieving your goals. If you wish to have your plan prepared by a private forestry or wildlife management consultant, you may be eligible to receive funds to help reduce the consultant's fee.

    Once you have your Forest Stewardship Management Plan written and approved, you will be in the Program and will receive:

    stewardship forest logoYou will qualify for certification as a Forest Steward once you have met the minimum requirements for improving the resources on your property. The requirements are minimal and provide flexibility so that your personal stewardship objectives can be met.

    Visit the Florida Forest Service's Forest Stewardship Program page for more information and download the Forest Stewardship Program Application.

  • Acknowledgements

    This site has undergone many changes since its start around 1998. This project began as a graduate project and I thank Dr. Alan Long for the opportunity to pursue it as part of my graduate studies at the SFRC, and now as a part of my position as Extension Program Manager. An Emeritus faculty now, Dr. Long's contributions to the forestry profession are many and the guidance he has provided me over the years has been tremendous. He is an outstanding leader, communicator, and educator. Dr. Michael Andreu has been the PI for the Florida Land Steward Program since 2010 and has been an outstanding colleague and mentor. Funding and support of this project continues to be provided by the Florida Forest Service, UF/IFAS, Florida Sustainable Forestry Initiative Implementation Committee, and other partners.

    There are many people working behind the scenes at IFAS Communication and IT Services to get the information and resources produced by Extension faculty to end users across the state, nation and world. Jennifer Hugus and Tennille Herron have done a mountain of work migrating the content of this site to the Terminal 4 system, and continue to help me get up to speed in maintaining and updating this site.

    Recognition goes to all of the faculty, staff, students, agency staff, landowners, natural resource professionals, businesses and others who have contributed and continue to contribute to this site and our Program. It's a work in progress. All ideas, feedback, and updated contacts and links are helpful in keeping the site useful, current, and relevant. Keep them coming.

    --Chris Demers, Florida Land Steward Extension Program Manager and Webmaster

Program and Partner Contacts
Find landowner assistance contacts from the Florida Forest Service, Universit of Florida / IFAS, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Florida Tree Farm Program, and the Florida Forestry Association

Florida Land Steward Program Outreach Events
Webinars, Workshops, Tours and more - Email to be added to the listserv and keep posted on Florida Land Steward, Tree Farm, and other educational evetns happening in Florida for landowners, foresters, and natural resource professionals. This is a great way to stay connected!

Florida Tree Farm Program
The Florida Tree Farm Program is the state affiliate of the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), a national program that promotes the sustainable management of forests through education and outreach to private forest landowners. In Florida there are over 1,200 certified Tree Farms. The Florida Land Steward Program provides educational and networking services for Florida Tree Farmers.  

State and federal agencies, nongovernment organizations, businesses and services, academic institutions, regional forestry groups, and professional organizations.