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Public comment open for management plans at Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood state forests

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) plan for science-based forest management at Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood state forests is open for public comment.

“State forests play an important role in supporting Indiana’s ecosystems, recreation, and overall health,” said Dan Bortner, DNR director. “By following the best scientific principles for more than 120 years, the DNR has been conserving and growing our forested land across the state for all Hoosiers and future generations to enjoy.”

The DNR Division of Forestry’s management plans focus on growing a healthier forest, with the goal of supporting greater diversity of native plant and wildlife species across the two forests’ combined 48,678.4 acres.

In less than 2% of that area (808.5 acres), the plan would remove approximately 12 trees per acre through single-tree selection and small canopy openings over the next 15 to 20 years, an average of less than one tree per acre per year. This means that trees would be individually selected for removal by professional DNR foresters to create openings so more sunlight can reach the forest floor to help young, shade-resistant trees grow. DNR’s professional foresters will lead the project, minimizing the impact on the existing forests and their guests.

Forest management of this kind supports a wide variety of native species found in an area. It also provides sustainable habitat for birds such as Eastern towhee, indigo bunting, cerulean warbler and black-and-white warbler, as well as the Indiana bat and Northern long-eared bat, both of which are federally endangered.

“At Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood state forests, forest visitors can see how thousands of acres of land have transformed over the last century from cleared agricultural land into healthy forests through the work of the DNR,” said Bortner. “We must continue this conservation mission by growing healthy forests and expanding forested land across Indiana through science-based forestry practices.”

You can learn more, review research and answers to frequently asked questions, hear from DNR’s professional foresters, and comment on the plan at on.IN.gov/growing-forests.

This planned forest management furthers DNR’s vital conservation mission. DNR surpassed 1 million trees planted across the state, mostly on state forest properties, over the last five years. This furthers Governor Eric J. Holcomb tree-planting directive in his 2020 State of the State Address.

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