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Inventory provides better understanding of state forests

The Department of Natural Resources has released a new tree inventory designed to better inform Indiana residents how state forests are used. 

Some highlights from the DNR Division of Forestry’s Continuous Forestry Inventory (CFI) report include:

·        Of the 155,725 total acres of state forest land, 149,727 acres are forested, with the balance being water or open areas such as campgrounds and service areas.

·        Ninety-five percent of forested acres are hardwoods.

·        There are 59.4 million live trees on Indiana’s state forests, totaling 337.4 million cubic feet of volume.

·        Sugar maple trees and seedlings are the most abundant species.

·        Tree growth exceeds timber harvest in state forests by at least a 2-to-1 margin.

·        Multiflora rose, Japanese honeysuckle, and stiltgrass are the most common invasive plants found in state forests.

The inventory is based on a sample of 3,860 plots located randomly across approximately 156,000 acres of state forest lands, with a sampling rate of approximately one plot for every 40 acres. 

The inventory reports tree measurements on live and dead trees, including identification of species, diameter, height, damage, and tree quality. It also assesses regeneration in state forests, and includes estimates of growth, mortality, removals and general stand characteristics.

This information will be used as baseline data to compare to future inventory studies. 

Indiana state forests provide both foreign and domestic markets with the finest quality hardwood in the world. Since 1966, the Division of Forestry has harvested 200 million board feet of timber, generating $41 million to help support the division’s missions, including recreation and resource management. The current estimated value of standing timber in state forests is $400 million. Indiana’s state forests also provide habitat for wildlife, clean air and water, and protect soil from erosion.

Indiana state forests have been recognized by both the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Forest Stewardship Council as meeting rigorous national standards of well managed forests.