Marking First Thinnings in Pine Plantations: Potential for Increased Economic Returns

Pine trees, North Florida, Forest. UF/IFAS Photo: Thomas Wright.

This 3-page fact sheet written by Byron Love, Michael Andreu, and Chris Demers and published by the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation summarizes a study to determine whether landowners may gain increased economic returns if they mark the first thinning in a southern pine stand. The study found that marking can indeed bring higher revenue at final harvest. The greater number of high-quality and faster-growing trees remaining after a marked thinning is the main reason for immediate and future increases in value.

Biology and Control of Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) in Southern Forests

Donn Shilling and Eldridge Wynn look over a research field

Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv.) is a Southeast Asian warm-season perennial grass species that has spread to all continents except Antarctica. It is considered among the worst problematic weeds on a global scale. Control of cogongrass is difficult, especially in forests. This 6-page fact sheet written by Patrick J. Minogue, Brent V. Brodbeck, and James H. Miller and published by the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation presents recommendations for control strategies that will work in mixed pine-hardwood forests and pine forests.

Genetically Improved Pines for Reforesting Florida's Timberlands

Improved bare root slash pine seedlings growing in a Florida forest tree nursery.

Just as farmers plant the best-available varieties of crops that have been developed through many generations of breeding, forest landowners should plant the best-available genetically improved varieties of pines for reforestation of their timberlands. This 8-page fact sheet written by Timothy L. White, Mary L. Duryea, and Gregory L. Powell and published by the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation explains how planting genetically improved varieties of pines can increase the productivity, health, and value of reforested Florida timberlands.

Florida Trees Store Carbon in Forests and Wood Products

Pine trees in a forest-- Tyler Jones

Trees store carbon as they grow and produce wood. Carbon, and carbon storage in particular, have become important topics as policymakers, scientists, and industry leaders consider how to address the increasing amount of CO2 in our atmosphere. Because it changes the composition of the atmosphere, CO2 is a leading contributor to climate change. This 4-page fact sheet written by Adam Maggard, Leslie Boby, and Martha Monroe and published by the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation explains how storing carbon in living trees and in long-lasting wood products such as lumber and furniture can reduce atmospheric CO2. Florida’s forest and wood-product industries are worth billions of dollars. Clean water, wildlife, and other benefits add to the value and importance of these forests.

Biscogniauxia (Hypoxylon) Canker or Dieback in Trees

Biscogniauxia canker or dieback is a common contributor to poor health and decay in a wide range of tree species growing in many different habitats, such as forests, parks, green spaces, and urban areas, in Florida. This disease is caused by several species of fungi in the genus Biscogniauxia (formerly Hypoxylon). These pathogens do not typically harm healthy and vigorous trees, but once they infect trees under stress from drought, root disease, soil compaction, construction damage or other causes, they can quickly colonize the tree. Once a tree is infected and fruiting structures of the fungus are evident, the tree is not likely to survive, especially if the infection is in the trunk. This 3-page fact sheet written by Claudia Paez and Jason Smith and published by the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation explains the pathogen’s biology and lists signs and symptoms as well as control measures and ways to keep trees healthy to resist infection.

Florida's Forest Stewardship Program: An Opportunity to Manage Your Land for Now and the Future

Florida forests

The Forest Stewardship Program encourages landowners to manage their lands for multiple natural resources, increases public awareness of the importance of Florida’s forestlands, and improves cooperation among natural resource agencies and organizations to meet Florida’s forest resource conservation and management needs. This three page fact sheet written by Mary Duryea, Deborah McGrath, Chris Demers, and Anthony Grossman and published by the School of Forest Resources and Conservation explains the program and its benefits and describes how to become a forest steward.

The Value of Private Non-Industrial Forestland for Wildlife Species Conservation

Gopher tortoise on a sandy road

Animals in Florida provide a variety of benefits to people, from recreation (fishing, hunting, or wildlife viewing) to protection of human life and property (oysters and corals provide reef structures that help protect coasts from erosion and flooding). By measuring the economic value of these benefits, we can assign a monetary value to the habitats that sustain these species and assess the value that is lost when development or other human-based activities degrade animal habitat. This 5-page fact sheet written by Shelly Johnson, Timm Kroeger, Josh Horn, Alison E. Adams, and Damian C. Adams and published by the School of Forest Resources and Conservation presents the results of a study that assessed the value of protecting five animal species in Florida and showed the economic value of protecting animal habitat.

Timber Production in a Working Forest Context

Florida forests

Working forests are private forests managed not just for timber production but also for a host of valuable ecosystem services like providing for recreation, maintaining habitat for wildlife, and maintaining a healthy watershed. Timber production is an essential ecosystem good or service that supports a number of important industries and provides jobs in Florida. This 6-page fact sheet summarizes the results of several studies to help forest landowners and other stakeholders understand how multiple-use management affects both timber production and other ecosystem services.

Carbon Stocks on Forest Stewardship Program and Adjacent Lands

Pine trees in a forest

Nonindustrial private forestlands in Florida provide many environmental benefits, or ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are benefits from nature that are directly enjoyed, consumed, or used by humans, such as water quality improvement or protection, recreation, biodiversity, and even timber. Another benefit from forests that is gaining interest is their ability to store carbon through the photosynthetic capture of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, in tree, plant, and soil biomass. The carbon dioxide that is stored over the life of a forest, called carbon stocks, is not only important for mitigating greenhouse gas contributions to climate change, but it can also be valued in several markets and incorporated into environmental policy instruments. This 5-page fact sheet was written by Nilesh Timilsina, Francisco J. Escobedo, Alison E. Adams, and Damian C. Adams and published by the UF Department of School of Forest Resources and Conservation April 2017.

The Laccate Ganoderma of the Southeastern United States: A Cosmopolitan and Important Genus of Wood Decay Fungi

Figure 3. Range of context tissue characters of the laccate Ganoderma spp. A) Cream-colored context tissue with concentric growth zones typical of G. sessile, illustrating the location of specific basidiocarp tissues; B) Dark brown colored context tissue with concentric growth zones (arrow) of G. tuberculosum; C) All white, homogenous context tissue of G. tsugae; D) Cream-colored context tissue with black, shiny resinous bands (arrow) typical of G. curtisii. Credits: Andrew Loyd, UF/IFAS

Ganoderma Karst. is a large and diverse genus of wood decay fungi that can rot the roots and/or lower trunk of many tree species. There are several laccate (varnished or polished) Ganoderma species that are found in the southeastern United States and this six-page fact sheet provides an overview of the different species. Written by Andrew L. Loyd, Jason A. Smith, Brantlee S. Richter, Robert A. Blanchette, and Matthew E. Smith and published by the Plant Pathology Department.

Improving, Restoring, and Managing Natural Resources on Rural Properties in Florida: Sources of Financial Assistance

small farm in North Florida, sky, clouds, barn, cows,  beef cattle, trees, grass, pasture. UF/IFAS Photo: Thomas Wright.

Interested in conserving natural resources, such as wildlife habitat, or protecting the agricultural heritage of your land? Both federal and state governments have technical and financial assistance programs to help rural landowners achieve natural resource goals. These challenges are addressed through land rentals, technical assistance, cost-shares, and incentive payments and include both time-limited and permanent land-use options.

This 8-page fact sheet written by Chris Demers, Martin B. Main and Mark E. Hostetler and published by the UF School of Forest Resources and Conservation informs landowners about government programs available to help conserve natural resources.

Controlling Invasive Exotic Plants in North Florida Forests

figure 1 Chinese tallow

Of the more than 4,000 known plant species growing in Florida, approximately 30% are not native to Florida or the Southeast, and in the US invasive exotic species cost an estimated $120 billion each year in damages. Early detection and removal of invasive plants is the key to successful management. This publication describes many of the current methods used in north Florida forest operations to manage invasive exotic plants. It also provides references for additional sources of information. Written by Chris Demers, Patrick Minogue, Michael Andreu, Alan Long, and Rick Williams.

Landowner Cost-Share Incentives and Payments for Ecosystem Services: A Comparison of Key Program Features

Florida forests

Landowners who conduct land management activities that protect environmental benefits may be eligible for several types of financial assistance from the government, but not all incentive strategies are the same. This 4-page fact sheet written by Melissa M. Kreye, Elizabeth Pienaar, and Raoul K. Boughton and published by the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation compares traditional cost-share programs offered to landowners through federal agencies and a new type of market-based incentive program called payments for ecosystem services (PES). The information inside can help private landowners understand the advantages and limitations of both approaches and guide decision-makers in designing effective future conservation incentive programs.

Using the Ecosystem Services Approach to Advance Conservation Efforts on Private Lands


Decision-makers in Florida have shown increased interest in using the Ecosystem Services (ES) approach to reward ecosystem conservation efforts on private lands. For example, payments for ecosystem services (PES) strategies have been effective in motivating landowners to conserve ecosystems on their land. Some landowners may find a better understanding of the ES approach to be useful when deciding to participate in a PES program. This 5-page fact sheet written by Melissa M. Kreye, Elizabeth Pienaar, Raoul K. Boughton, and Lindsey Wiggins and published by Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation will provide landowners, Extension agents, government and agency leaders, and other stakeholders with a better understanding of how ES are classified, the different ways ES can be valued, how quantifying ES values can help support conservation efforts on private lands in Florida, and a few of the challenges inherent in using the ES approach.

My Pine Is Under Attack: What Should I Do? A Primarily Insect-Based Decision-Support Guide for Pine Death Management

This guide is intended to help tree owners and Extension personnel in Florida and the adjacent southeastern region make decisions about backyard pine trees that display signs of attack by wood borers. The three-page pictorial guide written by Jiri Hulcr and published by the School of Forest Resources and Conservation will help determine whether beetles have attacked a pine tree, how far along the attack has progressed, and what to do about it. There are many sources of pine stress other than insects, so for complete advice, please contact your county Extension agent or post your question at the Tree Health Diagnostics Forum at the University of Florida website:

Common Pines of Florida

loblollyPine trees are highly important to Florida’s ecosystems and economy. There are seven species of native pines, and each grows best in a particular environment. People have found varied uses for each species as well. Several species are of commercial value and are cultivated and managed to provide useful products such as paper, industrial chemicals, and lumber. Some species are also managed to enhance wildlife habitat and to provide attractive landscapes. Of course, many pines grow naturally. Like any natural resource, pines may provide more benefits if they are managed wisely. This 11-page fact sheet written by Niels Proctor and Martha Monroe and published by the School of Forest Resources and Conservation gives an overview of the features and identification of the major pines found in Florida.

Ten Common Conifers of the Tampa Bay Area

Sand Pine (Pinus clausa)

Conifers are cone-bearing trees often identified by their needles. In addition to their value as landscape trees and lumber and paper sources, they are popular around the holidays as Christmas trees.

This 6-page guide written by Andrew K. Koeser, Holly Finley, Gitta Hasing, Gary W. Knox, and Melissa H. Friedman and published by the Environmental Horticulture Department will assist you in identifying the 10 most common conifers that grow in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. It is an efficient resource for master gardeners, novice tree inventory crews, 4-H forestry teams, and others interested in basic conifer identification.

Ten Common Flowering Trees of the Tampa Bay Area


Blooming trees serve as key focal points in the urban landscape. Florida’s flowering trees can be quite spectacular and leave you wondering, Wow, what tree is that?

This 7-page guide written by Gitta Hasing, Andrew K. Koeser, Gary W. Knox, and Melissa H. Friedman and published by the Environmental Horticulture Department will assist you in identifying the 10 most common flowering trees that grow in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. It is an efficient resource for master gardeners, novice tree inventory crews, 4-H forestry teams, and others interested in basic flowering tree identification.

Biology, Control and Invasive Potential of Giant Reed (Arundo donax L.) in Florida

Arundo donax, or giant reed
Arundo donax (L.), also known as giant reed, is a tall, fast-growing, bamboo-like grass that under ideal conditions can reach a height of up to 30 feet and a stem diameter up to 1.5 inches. Giant reed is invasive and difficult to control and has caused economic losses in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. This species was introduced to Florida over 100 years ago and is currently naturalized in at least 26 of the 67 Florida counties. So far giant reed has not proved problematic in Florida, but recent permitting of its planting for bioenergy feed stock may increase the risk that it could naturalize into plant communities in Florida and other southeastern states and potentially cause economic losses as well as harm to native species and habitats. This 5-page fact sheet written by Pat Minogue and Seth Wright and published by the School of Forest Resources and Conservation describes the biology of this species and explains some strategies for its control.

Guide to Fertilization for Pine Straw Production on Coastal Plain Sites

Applying poultry litter fertilizer to pines.
Pine straw has gained popularity as a mulch for residential and commercial landscaping in urban and suburban areas. It is attractive, relatively low-cost, and easy to work with. Best of all, it performs well in all kinds of locations–including those difficult-to-mulch slopes! Pine straw is perfect for water-efficient landscaping (xeriscaping), an increasingly popular choice for environmentally conscious landscapers. Thanks to the growing popularity of this natural mulch material, pine straw production has quickly become an important Florida industry. Regularly removing pine straw from pine stands is not without consequences, however; the loss of the cover and nutrients pine straw provides can reduce the productivity of the pine forest. Proper fertilization and harvest techniques are crucial to maintain the viability of the new industry and traditional pine industries alike. This 12-page guide written by Anna Osiecka, Patrick J. Minogue, and E. David Dickens and published by the School of Forest Resources and Conservation explains how to fertilize wisely to offset the effects of pine straw removal and maintain the viability of pine plantations.