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Florida Forest Service reforesting state forests through grant

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The Florida Forest Service is working with funding from the Arbor Day Foundation to reforest three Florida state forests this week.

Jim Karels, director of the Florida Forest Service, said the state forests needing major reforestation are the Blackwater River State Forest in Holt, Four Creeks State Forest in Callahan and Goethe State Forest in Morriston.

The Arbor Day Foundation awarded $154,750 to the forest service to be used for these reforestation efforts, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website.

“We are looking to plant a million seedlings with Arbor Day,” Karels said.

He said there are about 35 state forests, and Arbor Day decides who receives funding for reforestation depending on the year and the greatest need. Last year, the forest service reforested Seminole State Forest in Lake County with the help of the foundation.

Karels said the winter planting season, which is from December to early March, is the best time to plant the seedlings because the amount of rain and there is a better chance of survival for the trees. He said most of the trees for the 2012-2013 planting season are being planted this week.

“Many of the trees planted this year with the Arbor Day funds are longleaf pines,” Karels said.

Longleaf pines are good for the forests, he said, because of their dominance, adaptability and survival rates. He also said they are good for the wildlife and for timber production.

Correction: A previous version of this article said three state parks were being reforested. Three state forests are being reforested.

Christina DeVarona wrote this story online.

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