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UF/IFAS workshop to help timber owners protect their land from theft, other crimes

 08844S

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — To the owner, a tract of timberland may be a wise investment or a family legacy. Unfortunately, to others that same acreage may look like a great place to cook methamphetamine, poach deer or steal a few truckloads of logs.

To help North Florida residents prevent illegal activity on their land, the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has joined forces with Florida’s Forest Stewardship Program and state agencies to present a one-day workshop, called Timberland Security for Owners.

It happens 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 at the UF/IFAS Columbia County Extension Office in Lake City.

“We have a great program that’s dynamic and interesting, and covers material that every forest landowner should know for their own protection and protection of the community,” said Chris Demers, Forest Stewardship Program coordinator in Gainesville.

The event’s four teaching sessions cover topics that include trespass, poaching, dumping, arson and liability, Columbia County timber theft case studies, theft-related tax deductions, and preventing cultivation or manufacture of controlled substances.

Tom Kazee of Woodland Security, a nationally recognized authority on timber security, will lead two of the sessions. Kazee, based in Orange Park, said most people involved in the timber industry are honest and forthright. But because there are exceptions, landowners should educate themselves about security issues.

“The essence of my presentation is, ‘trust but verify,’” Kazee said. “If a landowner is naïve, they are much more vulnerable.”

Registration is $10 and covers instruction, a resource manual and lunch. To register, visit http://fsp-workshop020713.eventbrite.com or call the Columbia County Extension Office at 386-752-5384.

For more information and directions, see http://tinyurl.com/aay3o6t

Founded in 1990, the Florida Forest Stewardship Program helps and encourages private landowners to manage their properties for long-term economic, environmental and social benefits. It’s a partnership that includes UF/IFAS, the Florida Forest Service, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

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Contacts

Writer: Tom Nordlie, 352-273-3567, tnordlie@ufl.edu

Source: Chris Demers, 352-846-2375, cdemers@ufl.edu