Save Yellowwood State Forest

Efforts to Protect Yellowwood State Forest Continue

Where We Are Now

In May, 2019, the Indiana Forest Alliance proposed that the Back Country Area (BCA) of Morgan-Monroe/Yellowwood State Forest be designated as a High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF), approximately 2,380 acres, as it would provide a large tract of interior HCVF acreage within this state forest complex.

In 1981 this area was designated as BCA for the enjoyment of wilderness seekers, “to be disturbed as little as possible to maintain the natural woodland ecosystem as it may have appeared nearly 200 years ago.” But a few years ago, the Division of Forestry decided to conduct a timber harvest in the BCA.

While more than 95% of the state forest system is managed by selective logging on a 20-year rotation, High Conservation Value Forests receive special consideration for their unique biological, ecological or cultural significance and management to maintain or enhance these values. 

Since 2014, the Indiana Forest Alliance has coordinated an extensive collaboration to conduct an Ecoblitz taxonomic inventory (forest census) of the Back Country Area in Morgan Monroe and Yellowwood State Forests. The primary goal of this work was to characterize the flora and fauna of this mature hardwood forest before any disturbance from logging activity. This work resulted in  a comprehensive baseline inventory of species present in this forest that has been relatively undisturbed by logging over the past 40 years. The completed report highlights some of the species found that are recognized as rare, threatened, or endangered and otherwise special. The complete species lists are available at www.indianaforestalliance.org.  

The data from the Ecoblitz species inventory was used to support IFA’s nomination of this area as HCVF to be managed without timber harvest. As a part of the nomination, we submitted a letter from more than 200 scientists who support the designation of this forest as HCVF.

Helpful Resources

Indiana Native Plant Society – The Value of Old Growth Forests

Read the nomination submitted by Indiana Forest Alliance

Yellowwood and Morgan-Monroe BCA Issue Guide 

Description of IFA’s Ecoblitz Forest Species Inventory Work

Complete Species List from IFA’s Comprehensive Forest Census

Scientific Research Reports from IFA’s Ecoblitz Forest Census

How Can IFA Members Help?

On Wednesday, August 31st, the Division of Forestry posted the Morgan-Monroe BCA HCVF proposal.  The deadline to submit a public comment is September 30th.

  • Submit a public comment.   
  • Write to Governor Holcomb and ask him to support the HCVF proposal. Contact him at www.in.gov/gov/2752.htm or 317.232.4567.
  • Send copies of your comments to your state legislators and IFA as well.
  • Write letters to the editor.

History of Yellowwood Effort

In November 2017, the State of Indiana sold off 299 acres of our public forests in the Yellowwood BCA. When the Division of Forestry sold off the forest to commercial logging companies, 225 people showed up to protest.

This forest is at the center of Indiana Forest Alliance’s multi-year survey of flora and fauna known as the Ecoblitz. Home to many threatened, rare, and endangered species, campers, hikers, backpackers, and hunters regularly frequent the Yellowwood BCA. This forest is part of our natural heritage, contains at least 50 trees more than 100 years old, and deserved to be protected.

Two hundred forty scientists from universities across Indiana signed a letter encouraging Governor Holcomb to set aside portions of our state forests from logging!  And the Governor received 5,070 comments in opposition to the logging before it happened.

The state’s largest newspaper endorsed pausing this logging plan. Read the Indianapolis Star editorial. Yet, the timber harvest happened in January 2018. A legislator visited in April 2018 to see the devastating outcome of the cut.

View a 15-minute documentary film called “Saving Yellowwood” made by John & Hannah Boggs. And here’s another video worth watching.

Additional Resources

Get involved! Take action!

Indiana’s forests need you! Be part of an active, engaged network of forest advocates from all over Indiana. What can you do? Join IFA! Volunteer! Or write to or call officials on behalf of Indiana’s forests.

Contact IFA’s outreach team for more information.