Tangles of briers and weeds, not new trees, filled in the areas I hiked through. All of these areas will take many decades to recover. What does the DNR do to restore the ecosystem and encourage the proper types of plants to grow in these damaged areas?
As a forester, ecologist, and former legislator in Wisconsin, I’ve tried to offer another perspective on Indiana forest issues. We expect our public forests to produce a variety of benefits for citizens, and forest managers must play a critical role in satisfying multiple uses while keeping forests healthy and resilient. As the impacts of climate change and invasive species increasingly affect our forests, that work becomes even more important and more challenging.
On June 11, IFA intern Anna Hopkins took her camera to Owen-Putnam State Forest to survey two soon-to-be-logged forest tracts with members of Owen-Putnam Friends of the Forest.
This key bill is under consideration now in the U.S. House of Representatives, and it is a full-frontal assault on your national forests, including our own Hoosier National Forest.
IFA has reviewed the “Preliminary DP Plan 2016-ZON-020” for the proposed agreement negotiated between Keystone Realty Group and supporters of this development and compared this plan to the plan currently authorized in this 2006 zoning document, commonly known as the “Kite Development.”
This relatively undisturbed forest in the Back Country Area (BCA) of Morgan-Monroe State Forest has great species complexity and high species richness in the absence of intense forest management. One tract of Yellowwood has been logged, but other parts of the BCA remain intact for now, and IFA will continue the Ecoblitz in these unlogged areas.
A forest healthy enough to sustain Box Turtles will also be home to a diverse community. That forest will support such a variety of animals, plants and microbes with such complex interactions that the old phrase web of life only begins to describe them.
This change in policy is not grounded in solid science.
A mutually-acceptable development is possible on the Haverstick tract. It could be an exemplar of green infrastructure paired with appropriately-scaled building, as we seek to create a more sustainable, resilient City per its 2020 Bicentennial Vision.
“When you look at the level of bipartisan support in both chambers,” said IFA Executive Director Jeff Stant, “you have to conclude that setting aside some of the state forests from logging is an idea that is gaining traction in the legislature.”