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Publication #CIR1472

Improving, Restoring, and Managing Wildlife Habitat in Florida: Sources of Technical Assistance for Rural Landowners1

Mark Hostetler, Chris Demers, and Martin Main2


In Florida, roughly 50% of the rural land area is held in private ownership and engaged in some form of agriculture or forestry (Florida Statistical Abstract, 1992). Privately owned lands in Florida provide critically important wildlife habitat for many species. Effective management of wildlife habitat on private lands in Florida is essential for maintaining healthy wildlife populations into the future.

Managing for wildlife essentially includes maintaining the natural processes on the land. For example, fire in pine flatwoods and seasonal flooding of wetlands are essential for maintaining plant and wildlife communities that are adapted to these natural processes. However, multiple land uses, invasive non-native species, and other factors may interfere with natural environmental processes. In these cases, active management is needed to maintain or restore healthy and productive wildlife habitat.

Expert advice can be helpful when deciding on specific management actions needed to maintain or restore wildlife habitat. This is especially useful when attempting to benefit wildlife species of special management interest or concern. Landowners are advised to consider the types of habitats that exist on their property and that they are interested in managing, such as wetlands, pine forests, hardwoods, abandoned pasture, and so forth, to assist them when they begin searching for information.

This document summarizes sources of information from federal, state, and non-governmental organizations that provide technical assistance to rural landowners interested in managing or restoring habitat for wildlife (Table 1). Additional information regarding conservation and management of wildlife habitat in Florida is available on the UF/IFAS Extension Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS). Related documents present information on programs that provide:

  1. Financial assistance to private landowners

2. Technical assistance for homeowners:

  • Improving, Restoring, and Managing Natural Resources in Florida: Sources of Technical Assistance for Urban Homeowners (

3. Conservation options (easements, etc.) for private landowners

4. Evaluating private lands for conservation

Additional information

Demers, C., 2014. Forest resource information on the Internet: connecting to today’s online resources. UF/IFAS Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database.

Demers, C., Long, A., and C. Latt. 1999. Establishing and maintaining wildlife food sources. UF/IFAS Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database.

Demers, C., Hawkins, L., Long, A., and C. McKelvy. 2001. Providing wildlife cover. UF/IFAS Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database.

Hostetler, M.E., Klowden, G., Miller, S.W., and K. N. Youngentob. 2003. Landscaping backyards for wildlife: top ten tips for success. UF/IFAS Extension Fact Sheet Circ 1429. UF/IFAS EDIS Database,

Main, M. B., Karim, A.K., and M. E. Hostetler. 2003. Conservation options for private landowners in Florida. UF/IFAS Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database.

Main, M. B., Karim, A. K., and M. E. Hostetler. 2003. Evaluating private lands for conservation of wildlife. UF/IFAS Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database.

Main, M. B. 2000. Management of white-tailed deer in Florida—Part I: collecting information on herd health. UF/IFAS Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database.

Main, M.B., and G.W. Tanner. 1999. Effects of fire on Florida's wildlife and wildlife habitat. UF/IFAS Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database.

Marion, W. R., Werner, M., and G. W. Tanner. 2002. Management of pine forests for selected wildlife in Florida. UF/IFAS Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database.

Schaefer, J.M. 2000. Florida's invaders: exotic pests. UF/IFAS Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database.


Table 1. 

Organizations and programs that operate throughout Florida (statewide) to provide technical assistance for management of wildlife habitat and natural resources.


Contact Information



Department of the Interior

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,

Partners for Fish & Wildlife:

Assistance to private landowners to restore wetlands and other wildlife habitat.

Bureau of Reclamation:

Financing, in-kind services, and educational programs for on-farm water management.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS):

NRCS's natural resources conservation programs help people reduce soil erosion, enhance water supplies, improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat, and reduce damages caused by floods and other natural disasters.

Farm Service Agency:

Technical and financial assistance to address soil, water, and related natural resource concerns on farms and ranches.


University of Florida/IFAS

UF/IFAS Extension Electronic Data Information Source:

Searchable database for technical information on many topics related to management of natural resources.

UF/IFAS Extension

UF/IFAS Extension Offices:

Provide technical assistance and conduct public workshops. Services vary by county and statewide programs.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Landowner Assistance Program:

Landowner Incentive Program:

Financial and technical assistance for landowners to manage, enhance, or restore habitats to benefit species at risk.

Florida Division of Forestry

Forest Stewardship Program (FSP):

UF/IFAS FSP website:

Technical assistance and educational programs through cooperation with UF/IFAS, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and other organizations.

Florida Land Steward

Florida Land Steward is a partnership of agencies and organizations with landowner outreach as part of their mission. Florida Land Steward is a portal to the partners’ web resources and is divided into sections dealing with planning for the future of your land, knowing your land, working your land, and protecting your land.

Water Management Districts

South Florida Water Management District, Water Savings Initiative Program:

Technical assistance to implement water-efficiency measures that reduce water use demands and promote water conservation.

Southwest Florida Water Management District, Facilitating Agricultural Resource Management Systems (FARMS):

Incentives to farmers to install and maintain irrigation best management practices (BMPs) to the agricultural community within “water use caution areas” (WUCA).

Suwannee River Water Management District, Private Landowner Initiative Program:

Assistance to private landowners to develop and implement land management plans that enhance, improve, or restore fish and wildlife habitat.


American Forest Foundation

American Tree Farm System:

Directs forestland owners to AFF volunteer foresters, conservation groups, land trusts, and natural resource professionals who can provide assistance in developing forest conservation and wildlife management plans to promote wildlife habitat improvement, watershed protection, and forest health.

National Wild Turkey Federation

Provides educational resources, land management tips, North American wild turkey management plan, regional habitat programs, and wildlife bulletins

Stewardship America, Inc.

Farmland Stewardship Program:

(scroll down to program information)

Provides agricultural producers access to conservation and profit improvement information.



This document is CIR1472, one of a series of the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date May 2005. Revised December 2014. Visit the EDIS website at


Mark E. Hostetler, professor, Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation; Chris Demers, forest stewardship coordinator, School of Forest Resources and Conservation; and Martin B. Main, professor, associate dean and program leader, Natural Resources Extension, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.