Clear cut near Eagle Creek shows need for stronger urban forest protections

New Forests for Indy report will identify city’s critical forests, launch neighborhood discussions on better conservation strategies
A six-acre tract near Eagle Creek was clear-cut in November 2020.

The Indiana Forest Alliance is calling for stronger public strategies and ordinances to protect precious urban forests critical to Marion County’s environmental future after more than six acres of trees in the Eagle Creek area were clear-cut without warning.

“This is exactly the kind of thing we want to work with neighbors and community leaders to avoid so we can conserve the few urban forests we have left in Indianapolis and maintain their many environmental benefits,” said Jeff Stant, executive director of the Indiana Forest Alliance, “from sequestering carbon, to absorbing floodwaters, to providing homes for city wildlife and sanctuaries for the human spirit.”

The six acres of trees were cut in November in the 7400 block of W. 34th St. after the property was acquired by a new private owner. The tract—once crowded with trees, some more than a century old—is now barren. 

The loss of the trees points to the importance of the Indiana Forest Alliance’s Forests for Indy project. The initiative will publish a report in the next month or so with The Conservation Fund that identifies the urban forests in Indianapolis most critical to the city’s environmental future.  Community and neighborhood meetings will then be held to explore strategies to preserve high-value urban forests.

“This project exists to preserve forests for Indianapolis neighborhoods and that is precisely why we need community input and partnerships with residents and city leaders,” said Jerome Delbridge, urban forest policy director for the Indiana Forest Alliance. “Together we will develop the best approaches to keep forests working for Indianapolis.”

The Forests for Indy project is financially supported by the Herbert Simon Family Foundation, The Conservation Fund and other donors in Indianapolis.

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