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Forest Owners From Across Northern Indiana Learn About Forest Management

August 2, 2016
Forestry Field Day

Bruce Wakeland talking about the effects of thinng

Forests can be neglected and they lose some of their value due to lack of proper management. Different landowners have various reasons for owning forests. These could include income from timber sales, hunting, and preserving natural ecosystems. All of these goals can be improved by proper management.

Purdue Extension-Starke County, along with Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Forestry and the Arrowhead Country Resource, Conservation and Development Council hosted a Forestry Field Day on July 30th in Starke County to help educate forest owners on ways that they can use forest management practices to improve their forest. In the morning, a group of forest landowners from across northern Indiana met at the library in Knox and heard presentations on methods for forest management, economics of forest management, and invasive species control. Speakers included Phil Woolery and Don Carlson of Purdue Extension, James Potthoff and Steve Winicker of IDNR, and Bruce Wakeland a local consulting forester.

Some of the key things that participants learned was that managing forests involves controlling the amount of light resources available to the individual trees. Removing lower quality trees will improve growth and value of the remaining trees for timber and wildlife value. Participants also learned that the value of timber can vary greatly depending on the quality of the tree. Bruce Wakeland presented information on the long-term economic performance of forests. He said that over a period of 30 years, forests had a return rate of nine percent. Half of this increase is from the physical growth of the trees in the forest and the other half is inflation and increases in prices for timber.

In the afternoon, the group toured the Starke County Forest to see different forest management activities, wetlands, and American Chestnuts. The group saw that by harvesting some trees in the forest the remaining higher value trees increased in growth rate and value. A stand of trees that is ready for a harvest was also examined. The group discussed which trees should be harvested and the best methods for ensuring high quality forest in the future. The wetlands on this site provide high quality habitat to many species including Sandhill cranes and Osprey. The American chestnuts that were seen at the Starke County Forest are part of a breeding program to restore this native species that was decimated by an exotic disease.

Participants from across northern Indiana gained knowledge in forest management techniques, invasive species control, and the economics of forest management. Many appreciated having the techniques and concepts explained in a forest. Many of the participants plan on implementing things that they learned from this program to help improve their forest in the coming year. For more information on this subject, contact the Starke County Extension Office at (574) 772-9141 or pwoolery@purdue.edu.

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