Wildlife Management on Private Lands in Florida

Private landowners and conservation are essential to wildlife management. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recognized the importance of these landowners and sought to improve their private lands programs through direct landowner input. We collected data on private lands wildlife management, participation in private lands management programs, and landowner demographics through a mail survey. Our results indicated 58% of landowners actively manage for wildlife and 68% believe their regular land management practices benefit wildlife. Demographics and land use varied across Florida, but similarities allowed us to group landowners into three regions for comparisons. Landowners in South Florida had greater incomes, larger parcels, more agriculture, grasslands and rangelands, and managed for upland game birds. Landowners in Central Florida had lesser incomes, moderately-sized parcels, and a mixture of grasslands and forests. North Florida was comprised of landowners with the lowest incomes and smallest properties, was mostly forested, and was being predominantly managed for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Forty-four percent of landowners or their families hunted. Land use planning was a common practice among landowners with 24% already having a plan for their property. Our statewide and regional analyses indicated current private lands wildlife programming could be better tailored to meet landowner needs based on preferred species, integrating wildlife management with regular land uses, and addressing problem wildlife concerns.

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