Scott Sanders Chris Wynn Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Adam S. Willcox William M. Giuliano Department of Wildlife Ecology and ...
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Scott Sanders Chris Wynn Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Adam S. Willcox William M. Giuliano Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation University of Florida Photo: Robert Hoffman, University of Florida
Photo: James Henderson, Gulf South Research Corporation, Bugwood.org Acknowledgements We gratefully acknowledge and thank all of the private landowners who participated in the focus groups used to design the survey and completed the survey. You have been invaluable in shaping the future of private lands wildlife management in Florida. Kristen Nolte and Leander Lacy were integral in arranging logistics for focus group meetings and supporting their facilitation. The Private Lands Biologists of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission helped immensely with survey design, editing, and consolidating the mailing lists, and contacting landowners for meetings. The members of the Watermelon Pond Conservation Cooperative assisted us by completing a pilot survey that was instrumental when designing the statewide survey. We also thank University of Florida IFAS County Extension Faculty for their hospitality when they provided us with space for meetings. Funding for this work was provided by a State Wildlife Grant as part of Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative www.floridaconservation.org/ WILDLIFEHABITATS/Legacy_index.htm. Printed on at least 10% post-consumer recycled paper with biodegradable vegetable- based inks. © 2009 University of Florida and The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
I appreciate the opportunity to fill this out; I am always interested in managing my land for “natural Florida” habitat. –Survey respondent Florida’s natural lands and waters are likely many other agencies to tailor future invaluable to fish and wildlife and our services to landowner needs. quality of life. However, the recently The survey was administered within published Wildlife 2060 report (www. Landowner Assistance Program focal MyFWC.com/wildlife2060) projects a areas, and directed at nearly 7,000 dismal future for fish and wildlife over landowners that own 20 acres or more. the next 50 years, if our abundant Approximately 3,500 landowners were natural habitats continue to be randomly selected to receive a survey converted to urban uses in support and we achieved a 51% response rate of an ever-growing human population. (Figure 1). The questions answered are The future for fish and wildlife greatly helping us better understand landowner depends upon decisions made by demographics, landowner needs/ private landowners who own and concerns, and current levels of active manage more than half of Florida’s management. natural resources. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission We thank you for taking the time to (FWC) recognizes the critical role private complete the survey, if you were selected. landowners serve and is engaged in Given appropriate funding levels, we multiple efforts to support private hope to conduct a similar survey in 2010 landowner wildlife management. This and look forward to your participation. booklet provides results of a recent This booklet was produced for private effort initiated by the FWC to better landowners and other interested parties understand private landowner wildlife and is designed to inform the reader about perspectives. the survey results while also providing information about a few key wildlife During 2008, the FWC and the programs. We hope you find the booklet University of Florida Department of useful and encourage your feedback. Wildlife Ecology and Conservation partnered to administer a “Florida The Florida Fish and Private Landowner Wildlife Survey.” Wildlife The survey was conducted to better Conservation understand and document private Commission landowner needs associated with University of Florida wildlife management. The results will Department of help FWC’s Landowner Assistance Wildlife Ecology Program (www.MyFWC.com/LAP) and and Conservation 3
This survey was very important to our agency. By better understanding landowner needs and concerns, we are now able to provide specific programs to directly support their wildlife management interests. –Scott Sanders, section leader, FWC Isolated protected areas in a Conservation Commission (FWC) landscape of urbanizing and working realizes the shortcomings of agricultural lands likely will never be designing programs without sufficient able to effectively conserve wildlife, stakeholder input and this survey is as they are too small, fragmented, one of the means by which they are and of poor quality to provide the addressing the wildlife needs of all suitable habitat and connectivity Floridians. that healthy wildlife populations require. In Florida-the state with the PROJECT AREA: The FWC identified highest percentage of public lands in 11 focus areas in which to initially the Southeast-for 179 rare species, concentrate technical and financial existing public lands inadequately assistance for private landowners protect at least 56 species. (Figure 2). The focal areas were Therefore, wildlife conservation developed to target high priority agencies must devise programs to habitats identified in Florida’s Wildlife encourage landowners to conserve Legacy Initiative, large blocks of healthy and stable populations private land adjacent to public lands, of wildlife on private lands to and clusters of landowners near compliment public lands programs. areas with successful FWC private lands programs. The focal areas Fish and wildlife agency personnel contained three general habitat have been criticized in the past for types: scrub, sandhill and dry prairie. designing and producing materials and programs that do not meet Scrub is characterized by well- the needs of their audience. drained sandy soils, dominated by Wildlife programs sometimes oak shrubs, Florida rosemary, ground suffer from a lack of insight into lichens and open patches of barren stakeholder attitudes, beliefs, and sand. Scrub can contain an open or values. This can cause biases and closed canopy of pines, and is largely misperceptions that can negatively restricted to Florida. affect the utility, acceptance and Sandhill is the elevated dry portion effectiveness of wildlife programs. of the high pine ecosystem. It is The Florida Fish and Wildlife typified by sandy soils, an open canopy of primarily pine and some 4
Photo: Brandon Schad, FWC oak, and an understory of perennial the 11 focal areas using a five- grasses and forbs. Sandhill high contact mailing. This included a pine is found throughout the coastal pre-letter, the survey, a post card plain from Alabama and east Texas reminder, a replacement survey for to southeastern Virginia. nonrespondents, and a third survey for nonrespondents (Figure 1). Dry prairie is dominated by expanses of nearly treeless areas The data were analyzed using of grasses and forbs, acidic soils, appropriate statistical techniques. and sparse palmettos and shrubs. Focus areas were grouped regionally Dry prairie can become covered with based on demographic and land use water in the height of the summer variables to facilitate analysis and rainy season. future wildlife program delivery. METHODS: We developed a mail back questionnaire survey based on FWC regional coordinator and private lands biologist surveys and private landowner focus groups. The questionnaire included items that measured land use, wildlife management activities, wildlife enterprises, wildlife recreation, and landowner demographics. We also asked a series of questions about wildlife management financial assistance and planning programs. Our target group was landowners who owned 20 or more acres in Figure 1: Florida Private Landowner Wildlife the focus areas. Addresses were Survey questionnaire cover. obtained using the Florida property tax parcel Geographic Information System database. We administered surveys to a random sample of 3,377 landowners, stratified by 5
Photo: William M. Giuliano, University of Florida RESULTS: Of the 3,271 deliverable uses. Landowners in the focal areas addresses, we received 1,658 of the Panhandle and northern parts responses for an overall response of the state primarily reported having rate of 51%. planted timber and native forest. The central portions of the state were Demographics and land use - The fairly diverse, while the southern majority of landowner respondents areas were dominated by planted were 50-64 years old (42%), white grazing land, orchards and groves, (95%), and male (76%). Statewide, native range, and native forest. the most frequently reported income category was $50,000-$99,000 Data were examined to understand (31%). Most landowners had overall patterns with respect to bachelor’s degrees (25%), followed income, land size and land use (Figure by some college (22%), high school 2). Osceola Scrub, Lake Wales Ridge, diplomas (20%), master’s degrees and South Florida Dry Prairie (South) (12%), associates degrees (6%), were grouped together because doctorates (5%), professional degrees landowners were typically from (5%), and less than a high school higher income brackets ($100,000- diploma (4%). $149,000), land acreage was larger (1,316-11,934 acres), and lands Statewide, landowners held an contained a large proportion of native average of 1,129 acres with a and planted grasslands (45-60%). minimum of 20 and a maximum of 330,000 acres. Landowners and A second group (Central) was their families owned their property formed with Chassahowitzka, Citrus/ for an average of 23 years. Seventy- Marion, and Brooksville Ridge as one percent of landowners indicated properties in these areas were their primary land use was agriculture, moderately sized (336-1,161 acres), followed by development (20%), and landowners had the second highest recreation (9%). income ($50,000-$99,999), and land use was mixed between grassland We asked landowners to further and forest uses (30-40% grassland, classify their land use, detailing the 35-45% forest). amount of land devoted to different 6
With our ranch management, we benefit both livestock and wildlife. –Survey respondent The final grouping (North) contained incomes ($50,000-$99,999), and the Apalachicola/St. Marks, Camp Blanding properties were small (224-758 acres). Uplands, Ecofina, and Lake/Volusia These groupings will be referred to as Scrub. These areas were primarily South, Central and North throughout the native forests and planted timber (50- remainder of this report, respectively. 85%), landowners had statistically lower Landowner Assistance Program Focus Areas North µ Blackwater/Eglin Central Econfina Apalachicola/ St. Marks South Camp Blanding Uplands Brooksville Ridge Citrus/Marion Lake/Volusia Chassahowitzka Lake Wales Ridge Osceola South FL Dry Prairie Priority Habitats Legend County Boundaries Scrub Habitat Dry Prairie Habitat Sandhill Habitat 0 20 40 80 120 160 Miles Figure 2: FWC Focus Areas grouped by demographic and land use similarities (i.e., South, Central, and North). 7
I really enjoy planting food plots for deer and other game. I like putting out feed for deer and other animals. Keeping a strong herd of deer and turkey flocks are key for me. I harvest only a small amount. –Survey respondent Wildlife management and and South, and higher in the South conservation - Statewide, 68% than Central. Upland game bird of landowners thought that their management was higher in the South regular land management practices than North and Central, but did not benefited wildlife and habitat. differ between the North and Central. Fifty-eight percent of landowners General wildlife habitat management indicated that they actively managed was not different between South for wildlife on their property. and Central or Central and North, but South was higher than North. Of the respondents who indicated No differences were detected they actively managed for wildlife, among regions for small mammals they primarily managed for deer (squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, etc.) or (22%), followed by upland game songbirds. birds, and general wildlife habitat (Figure 4). Considering the top We asked a series of questions five groups, there were differences about common land management among regions. Deer management practices that benefit wildlife was higher in the North than Central including planting trees, grasses, Endangered Species Waterfowl 4% Reptiles and 6% Amphibians Deer 7% 22% Fish 8% Songbirds Upland 11% Gamebirds 18% Small Mammals Habitat 12% 12% Figure 4: Wildlife and habitat managed for by Florida Private 8 Landowner Wildlife survey respondents.
Photo: Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org shrubs, and food plots, feeding Wildlife recreation - Forty-four wildlife, using prescribed fire, and percent of landowner respondents or installing nest boxes or other wildlife their families hunted. shelters, with similar findings among regions (Figure 5). Respondents from the Central region hunted less than the North Wildlife problems - Statewide, more and South, and the North and South than 50% of landowners reported were not different. Statewide, 6% having problems with wildlife. The of landowners lease their land to South had more problems than hunters with no differences among North and Central, but there was regions. Twenty-two percent no difference between Central of landowners practice quality and North. Landowners reported deer management. Only 3% of coyotes, hogs, armadillos, raccoons landowners conducted guided hunts and rodents as the top five problem and 4% conducted ecotourism, bird wildlife species. watching, or wildlife viewing tours. Wildlife Management 100% Activities 80% Plant trees Prescribed fire 60% Plant grass and shrubs 40% Nest boxes Feed wildlife 20% Plant food plots 0% South Central North Figure 5: Beneficial wildlife land management activities reported by Florida Private Landowner Wildlife survey respondents. 9
Photo: Adam S. Willcox, University of Florida Conservation program participation a conservation and management - Forty-two percent of landowners plan in the future. maintained a Greenbelt, which provides tax benefits for Fourteen percent of landowners agriculturalists. Five percent of indicated they have received financial landowners had conservation assistance for land management easements on their property. The activities, with no differences among South had more reported easements regions. The most frequent financial than North and Central, but North assistance program reported was and Central did not differ. Thirteen the Environmental Quality Incentives percent of landowners indicated Program (EQIP; 33%), followed by they would be interested in placing the Landowner Incentives Program a conservation easement on their (LIP; 28%), Conservation Reserves property with no differences among Program (CRP; 23%), and the Wildlife regions. Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP; 12%). Twenty-four percent of landowners indicated they had a Seven percent of landowners land management plan, with no participated in financial assistance differences among regions. Of the programs for wildlife habitat people who had management plans, management, and 13% of most were personally developed landowners indicated they plan (50%), 29% had a Forest Stewardship to apply for wildlife management plan, 13% had Natural Resource financial assistance programs in the Conservation Service conservation future. plans, and 8% had private contractor RECOMMENDATIONS: Wildlife developed plans. management already plays a major Twenty-four percent of landowners role on private lands in Florida, with indicated they have or are currently nearly 70% of respondents indicating developing a conservation and that their routine land management land management plan, and 30% activities benefit wildlife and nearly suggested they would like to develop 60% of them actively managing to promote wildlife on their property. At the same time, more than 50% 10
I would like some help to get a good management plan started. It would not take a lot of money to make my farm nice for cattle, gophers, rabbits, birds and many more species ...I could make this farm a thing of beauty forever. –Survey respondent of landowners reported having upland game birds. And, landowners problems with wildlife. across the state were interested in general wildlife habitat management. Because of this, the FWC is Consequently, the FWC is pairing a designing and modifying private species focus with general habitat lands wildlife management and management tailored to regional conservation programs with the preferences, where appropriate. understanding that wildlife have benefits but also may lead to Even where FWC goals primarily problems, sometimes on the same focus on nongame or threatened property. The FWC is preparing their and endangered species, tailoring private lands wildlife biologists to programs to popular game species address these issues simultaneously with similar needs can directly and to achieve individual landowner goals indirectly accomplish those goals as of protecting some land uses while many of these animals share similar increasing wildlife populations on the habitats. Additionally, landowner- property. preferred species programs are initiating and strengthening positive The 44% of landowners and their relationships, potentially increasing families who hunt in Florida is much the opportunity to promote other greater than the general public’s 4% wildlife programs. regional average and the 5% national public average. With hunting remaining very popular with private landowners in the state, the FWC is currently evaluating their game species management programs for private landowners. Our results showed a strong preference for deer management in the North, whereas landowners in the South showed an inclination toward 11
Landowners should be rewarded for having endangered species on their property rather than penalized with rules, regulations and restrictions. –Survey respondent Landowners listing agriculture, both those who currently have or including forestry and livestock are developing plans and those production, as their primary land who intend to develop them in the use were in the majority (70%). future. The FWC private lands Therefore, the FWC is focusing their biologists will continue to support private lands wildlife management and provide technical assistance to programs in agricultural systems landowners that request planning to increase quality and quantity of assistance. The FWC has also preferred species while minimizing initiated an information campaign. crop depredation. Additionally, This brochure is part of that the FWC is supporting applied campaign to provide information to research studies that tackle landowners about the benefits of technical issues related to wildlife conservation plans and the technical and agriculture. For example, they assistance programs available have recently funded research to assist private landowners with projects investigating the effects planning. Additionally, the FWC has of prescribed burning and roller expanded its financial assistance chopping on vegetation and wildlife cost-share programs to focus on in South Florida, translocation high-priority habitats. This will allow of bobwhite quail to repopulate people owning land in those areas to private lands, and wild turkey use these funds for many different habitat preferences. The FWC, in species including both game and cooperation with UF/IFAS Extension, nongame wildlife. is also adapting their outreach and extension programs to include a There is substantial participation significant agricultural component in programs such as Greenbelt that through demonstration plots, field reduce taxes or evaluate agricultural days and workshops. property values differently than other land uses. With recent passage of Land management and a state constitutional amendment conservation plans are popular to qualify private conservation lands with landowners. This is true for for tax relief, the FWC will work closely with landowners wanting to participate. 12
This will likely be linked to existing The FWC realizes the primary focus planning programs including Forest of private lands in Florida remains Stewardship and NRCS conservation agriculture, so they are designing and plans that could potentially certify implementing wildlife programs that landowners for tax relief or other integrate agricultural and wildlife land financial assistance. uses for the landowner’s benefit. Although there is currently not The best approach to achieving much participation in conservation integration may be through holistic easement programs, 13% of land and conservation planning. landowners were interested in These planning processes placing a conservation easement incorporate wildlife into normal land on their property. Conservation use operations where possible and easements provide tax relief for address wildlife issues contrary to landowners, while conserving the primary land use. These plans the land in perpetuity and can provide assistance to increase allow for continued use including wildlife quantity and quality specific agriculture. The FWC will continue to landowner preferred wildlife promoting conservation easements species and habitat. Plans will and strengthen partnerships with also expedite targeted financial nongovernmental conservation assistance and tax relief programs to easement organizations to provide interested landowners. The planning information and technical assistance process will facilitate the passage of to interested landowners. knowledge between landowner and agency biologists so that they can CONCLUSIONS: Private landowners work together to effectively integrate in Florida continue to be the wildlife management on private stewards of the vast majority of lands. wildlife and wild places. The FWC is very encouraged by this and adapting current private lands technical and financial programs to better meet landowner needs. 13
Photo: Johnny N. Dell, Bugwood.org CURRENT WILDLIFE PROGRAMS: Habitat Management Workshops Many wildlife and habitat and Field Days - The FWC and their management programs were partners offer technical wildlife discussed in this report. Several of management workshops year round these have been reauthorized and for the public. They are listed at expanded in the 2008 edition of the www.MyFWC.com/CONSERVATION/ Food Conservation and Energy Act, ConservationYou_LAP_workshops.htm a.k.a. “Farm Bill.” Below, you will find brief descriptions of programs Wildlife Habitat Management currently available and their Internet Calendar - The FWC and other addresses. On the following page, partners produce an annual calendar we also offer phone numbers for the with wildlife management tips and FWC regional and extension offices. critical dates. Contact your FWC We encourage you to contact the regional office for a copy. FWC and UF/IFAS Extension for Forest Stewardship Program - more information regarding these Administered by Florida’s Division of programs and application processes. Forestry, it helps landowners develop Finally, for a complete report of the plans to improve forestlands and the survey please visit www.MyFWC.com/ environment. Both the FWC private CONSERVATION/ConservationYou_ lands biologists and IFAS Extension LAP_index.htm to download a copy. help implement this program. Landowner Assistance Program www.fl-dof.com/forest_manage ment/ - Administered by the FWC, this cfa_steward_index.html program seeks to improve habitat UF/IFAS Wildlife Extension - The conditions for high priority habitats. IFAS Wildlife Extension program FWC biologists meet with landowners offers many wildlife management to recommend habitat improvement programs for private landowners in techniques and possibly offer Florida. You should contact your financial assistance. local county extension office or the www.MyFWC.com/CONSERVATION/ State Wildlife Specialist for further ConservationYou_LAP_index.htm information. www.solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/ 14
How do I find out more about the issues in this survey? –Survey respondent Farm Bill Programs - The Natural Private Landowner Virtual Network: Resources Conservation Service www.privatelandownernetwork.com and Farm Service Agency administer many programs designed to CONTACT INFORMATION: Please assist landowners, groups, and contact your regional FWC office by communities with conservation and phone or email. They can provide maintenance of natural resources. you with more information regarding One of the most important programs private lands programs and answer is Conservation Technical Assistance questions you may have. You can (CTA) which helps landowners e-mail the FWC private lands regional develop a “whole farm plan.” To coordinators here: www.MyFWC.com/ learn more about CTA and many CONSERVATION/ConservationYou_ other Farm Bill Programs please visit: LAP_contact.htm www.fl.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/index. Northwest Region html 850-265-3676 Partners for Fish and Wildlife - Southwest Region Administered by the U.S. Fish and 863-648-3200 Wildlife Service, this program seeks North Central Region to efficiently achieve voluntary 386-758-0525 habitat restoration on private lands, through financial and technical South Region assistance, for the benefit of Federal 561-625-5122 Trust Species. www.fws.gov/partners/ Northeast Region 352-732-1225 Other useful links for landowners - Florida Forest Steward Newsletter: You can also contact your local www.sfrc.ufl.edu/Extension/florida_ UF/IFAS County Extension office forestry_information/additional_ or Bill Giuliano, the State Wildlife pages/newsletter.html Specialist, for further information on these programs: 352-846-0575 or Florida Invasive Species Partnership: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org www.floridainvasives.org/index.html 15
Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Millie Ferrer, Interim Director, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this information to further the purpose of the May 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of Congress; and is authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. Copyright Information This document is copyrighted by the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for the people of the state of Florida. UF/IFAS and FWC retain all rights under conventions, but permits free reproduction by all agents and offices of the Cooperative Extension Service, the FWC, and the people of Florida. Permission is granted to others to use these materials in part or full for educational purposes, provided that full credit is given to UF/IFAS and the FWC, citing the publication, its source and date of publication.
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