Fun Facts

Why are forests important?

At least 3000 species live there. Forests protect water quality and prevent soil erosion. They make our cities cooler and they help reverse climate change.

How Much Forestland does Indiana have?

Indiana once had 20 million of its 23 million acres of land area covered by forests. By the early 1900s,  less than 1.5 million acres of forest remained. Today, Indiana has about 4.9 million acres of forestland (or 21% of our land base).

How much Public Forest land does Indiana have?

While most of Indiana’s forest lands are in private ownership, Indiana also has about 360,000 acres of public forests that belong to all of us in the Hoosier National Forest and 13 State Forest properties.

Are Indiana’s forests home to Endangered Species?

Yes. The Cerulean Warbler is a tiny but beautiful blue songbird that travels more than 3000 miles each spring to nest along Indiana streams in the summer and then flies back to the Andes Mountains in South America in the fall!  Another Endangered Species in Indiana forests is the Pygmy Shrew.  At about .12 oz (2-3 grams) the pygmy shrew is the smallest mammal in North America and can be found from Indiana to Alaska.

Some Indiana forests are also home to the endangered Timber Rattlesnake, a relatively docile rattlesnake. Timber rattlesnakes vary in color ranging from bright yellow to gold to black. Camouflage is their best defense so they often lay motionless when encountered in the wild. Timber rattlesnakes can live for 30 years or more. Every time they shed their skin, about once every year or two, they get a new rattle. They often share their dens with other snake species.

How did the ovenbird get its name?

The ovenbird is another migratory songbird found in Indiana forests. It gets its name from the way it builds its nest. The female ovenbird weaves a one-piece nest on the forest floor with a domed roof and a side entrance.

Are fungi important in forests?

Yes. While fungi are not well understood, some fungi have underground mycorrhizal networks that resemble roots and provide trees with important nutrients and communication pathways. Some fungi produce reproductive organs or fruiting bodies that we know as mushrooms. Edible delicacies found in Indiana forests include morels, chanterelles mushrooms, turkey tail and hen of the woods.

Do Indiana forests have orchids?

Yes.  Indiana forests are home to Yellow Lady’s Slipper orchids, and the weirdly named downy rattlesnake plantain is another forest orchid named for the pattern on its leaves.

Get involved! Take action!

Indiana’s forests need you! What can you do? You can join IFA! You can volunteer! Or you can contact officials on behalf of Indiana’s forests.