Yellowwood, Morgan-Monroe Logging Moratorium Lifted

The moratorium on logging in the 50,000 acres of Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood State Forests (which has been in place since 2018) has been lifted.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Division of Forestry (DoF) announced new plans for logging and prescribed burning on over 800 acres in these forests. The DoF’s stated objective is to bring more sunlight to the forest floor and kill beech, maple, poplar and other native tree species that compete with oaks. The logging industry prefers timber stands dominated by oak species as these are more profitable. Once again, the DoF is putting the financial interests of the logging industry over the health and biodiversity of the state forests.

On May 8, 2024, the DoF released amended Resource Management Guides (RMGs) for the selective logging of 8 tracts (636.5 acres) in the Morgan-Monroe State Forest, and 1 tract (172 acres) in the Yellowwood State Forest.

On the same day, the DoF issued a press release titled “Public Comment open for management plans at Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood State Forests” to put a positive spin on the logging and burning and advertise the opportunity to comment on the planned management practices for these tracts.

IFA has long argued that the DoF’s current practice of repeatedly burning and logging over 95% of our state forests on a 15-20-year rotation is not sustainable. DoF management practices are failing to acknowledge the delicate ecological relationships that make our forests resilient to the impacts of climate change.

The repeated use of prescribed fire, which the DoF says is to “maintain or enhance wildlife habitat,” will in reality kill many animals in these areas, including rare, threatened, or endangered species. The DoF will kill these animals by burning them alive and by indiscriminately destroying the dense, mature, and old-growth forests on which they depend.

(An Eastern box turtle, a listed “state species of special concern”, burned alive by the DoF in the Ferdinand State Forest. This and many other forest animals including rare, threatened or endangered bats, ground nesting birds, snakes, salamanders, frogs and scores of invertebrates will die in this horrifying manner if the DoF follows through with its egregious plans to burn forests in the spring and summer. Photo By: Rock Emmert)

There is no scientific study that has ever established that fire is or was a significant agent of natural disturbance in Indiana’s native hardwood forests. Furthermore, in a time of catastrophic climate change, instead of releasing large quantities of carbon from prescribed burns and logging, DoF could generate revenue for its operating budget by letting our forests sequester and store carbon instead. Several studies have shown that older forests continue to sequester and store much more carbon than younger forests. For temperate, hardwood forests as diverse as those in the Central Hardwoods region, the net carbon storage capacity of living, dominant canopy trees may likely persist for 400 or more years if left alone and allowed to reach their full potential.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2021 gives farmers and other landowners including the DoF the ability to generate revenue from selling carbon offset credits to companies in voluntary carbon markets by lengthening harvest rotations and leaving significant portions of the state forests alone to return to the old growth condition.

Governor Holcomb should maintain the logging moratorium on Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood State Forests. At a time when climate change and the loss to biodiversity are becoming world wide environmental catastrophes, Holcomb and the IDNR should also set aside at least 30% of each of our fourteen other state forests to return to the old growth condition.


Public comments will be accepted on the Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood logging and burning plans through June 8. Go to: to review the plans. IFA will be posting draft comments shortly that can assist you in commenting.


Contact Governor Eric Holcomb to send him your comments and/or request he: 1) maintain the logging moratorium and halt prescribed burns on Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood State Forests and 2) set aside 30% of remaining state forests from logging and prescribed burning immediately.


Governor Eric Holcomb

State House Room 206 Indianapolis, IN 46204-2797

Phone: 317-232-4567

Fax: 317-232-3443

Contact Page:


Copy this communication to your State Senator and State Representative

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