Got Nature? Blog

FNR-226-WSuccessfully starting a tree plantation involves several steps, ideally starting with preparation a year or more before the seedlings are planted. This updated publication with current resources titled Resources and Assistance Available for Planting Hardwood Seedlings, landowners can find valuable information about planting trees for conservation, such as resources, contact information, tools, professional advice and assistance and financial incentives.

Resources:
Ordering Seedlings from the State Forest Nursery System, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-FNR
Instructions for Ordering Tree Seedlings – Indiana DNR Division of Forestry
Importance of Hardwood Tree Planting – The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Forest Improvement Handbook – The Education Store
Designing Hardwood Tree Plantings for Wildlife – The Education Store

Lenny D Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on February 1st, 2018 in Forestry, Timber Marketing, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »

Ohio River Valley Woodland & Wildlife WorkshopThis one day workshop offers a variety of talks on natural resource based topics. Attendees can explore many different woodland and wildlife related sessions presented by speakers from Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. Topics for this workshop will include: New Herbicides; Renovating Native Ward-season Grass Stands for Wildlife; Native Bees; Bats; Tree Identification; Timber Management; Economic Outlook for Forest Products Industries and Black Vulture Damage Control; and much more.

Location: Oasis Conference Center, 902 Loveland-Miamiville Road, Loveland, Ohio 45140 USA

Date and Time: March 17th from 8:30AM to 3:30PM

Schedule: Available on Workshop’s Website

Registration: Available on Workshop’s Website or mail in Workshop Flyer
Early registration is $45 if registered before 2/28/2018.
Registration is $55 from 3/1/2018 to 3/9/2018 which is the last day to register.

Resources:
Wildlife Responses to Timber Harvesting, Video-The Education Store-Purdue Extension Resource Center
Forest Management for Reptiles and Amphibians: A Technical Guide for the Midwest, The Education Store
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment (HEE)

Brian MacGowan, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Department of Forestry & Natural Resources, Purdue University


Posted on January 31st, 2018 in Forestry, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »

Harvest site at the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment.There has been much debate in the popular press lately regarding the role of timber harvesting on forest communities. A common focus of this debate is the perceived impacts to wildlife. Most believe that leaving our forests alone is best for wildlife. However, to provide habitat for all of our native forest wildlife species, forests need to be diverse in terms of age, species and area. Harvesting timber is the primary means of achieving this structural diversity. The purpose of this article is to summarize some key points regarding the effects of harvesting on reptiles and amphibians. These points are drawn mostly from the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment (HEE), an ongoing research study in southern Indiana. Its primary focus is to study forest management and its effects on plants and animals. A more detailed summary may be found in Forest Management for Reptiles and Amphibians.

There has been several large-scale studies that have investigated the effects of tree canopy removal on amphibians and reptiles. These include the HEE in Indiana, the Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project (MOFEP), and the Land-use Effects on Amphibian Populations (LEAP). Much of the work from these projects has been published in the scientific literature. All of these studies demonstrate that the response of amphibians and reptiles to timber harvesting is variable—it cannot simply be quantified as good or bad. Indeed, avoiding negative impacts to all reptiles and amphibians as a result of timber harvesting is neither possible nor desirable since disturbance-dependent wildlife species1,2 and many mature forest species3, require early successional forests.

Timber Rattlesnake

  • Timber rattlesnake in handling tube.For the focal species studied on the HEE, most exhibited moderate or no response in 1-3 years following timber harvests. The focal species I and colleagues have studied were timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus), eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina), and terrestrial salamanders. Timber harvests had no effect on the area male or female adult timber rattlesnakes used during the active season. There was no evidence that snakes changed movement behaviors to avoid clearcuts4. Indeed, several snakes were observed within clearcuts for several weeks and across multiple years. Annual survival of rattlesnakes on the HEE sites was high during the active season (72-98%) and winter (97-99%). Timber harvesting had no impact on survival. Declines in female survival was most affected by declines in prey abundance the previous year which were due to tree mast failures5. The level of acorns and nuts (i.e., mast) produced in woodlands naturally vary from year to year. When the small mammal population declined due to mast failure, these snakes were apparently impacted the following year.

Eastern Box Turtle

  • Eastern box turtleFor box turtles, there was no effect of timber harvests on home-range size, but the average daily distance traveled by turtles decreased by 30 percent following harvest, and turtles maintained 9 percent higher body temperatures6. Temperatures in harvest openings were 29 percent warmer in the summer and 31 percent colder in the winter than forested sites. Despite this change, turtles continued to use harvest openings during the active season, but tended to make shorter, more frequent movements in and out of harvests. Turtles likely used harvest edges for cover, thermoregulation and, possibly, foraging opportunities6. Harvested areas offered potential hibernation sites based on soil profile temperatures, slope aspect and depth of hibernation7. Both active and hibernal data suggest the level of harvesting on the HEE has modest effects on box turtle behavior, at least in the short term. To date, there is no evidence to support whether these changes have any impact—positive or negative—on box turtles.

Woodland Salamanders

  • Eastern red-backed salamanders.The response of woodland salamanders to harvests was species-specific8. The relative abundance of eastern red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) and northern slimy salamanders (Plethodon glutinosus) declined from pre- to post-harvest in patch cuts (1 to 3 acres) and clearcuts (10 acres). Red-backed salamanders also declined in control sites, suggesting factors other than the harvests contributed to salamander declines over the study period. However, red-backed salamander declines observed in control sites were not as severe as those seen within patch cuts and clearcuts, indicating harvests were at least partially responsible for observed declines within the harvest boundaries. The relative abundance of northern zigzag salamanders (Plethodon dorsalis) did not decline from pre- to post-harvest in any harvest type, and increased on sites adjacent to clearcuts.
  • These findings suggest canopy removal (2-10 acre gaps) has short-term local impacts on terrestrial salamanders in terms of relative abundance, but effects do not necessarily extend to the adjacent forest matrix. A caveat to these findings is that the ultimate fate of displaced individuals remains unknown. That is, changes in relative abundance does not mean declines in survival. Indeed, sites adjacent to clearcuts experienced an increase in counts of zigzag salamanders, which could reflect the evacuation of individuals from the clearcut into the intact forest. It is also important to note that other factors influence the abundance of terrestrial salamanders. For example, in addition to differences between seasons (spring versus fall), drought played a significant role in declines in salamander abundance across all study area.

Forest management sometimes leads to short-term loses for some species but is critical to the long-term sustainability of many other species. Looking at the responses of just a few species, within cutover areas for a few years paints an incomplete picture. A large-scale, long-term perspective is necessary when considering forest management. This is the true value of well-designed studies such as the HEE. With experimental control and replication, researchers can untangle the story on what are the true effects of forest management over a large area over many decades. The HEE has shed light on many answers so far. We can look forward towards many more to come.

Resources
Wildlife Responses to Timber Harvesting, Video-The Education Store-Purdue Extension Resource Center
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment – Forest Birds, Video-The Education Store
Managing Woodlands for Birds, Video-The Education Store
Sustaining Our Oak-Hickory Forests, Video-The Education Store
Breeding Birds and Forest Management: the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment and the Central Hardwoods Region, The Education Store
Forest Management for Reptiles and Amphibians: A Technical Guide for the Midwest, The Education Store
Addressing Concerns About Management of Indiana’s Forests, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment (HEE)

Brian MacGowan, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Department of Forestry & Natural Resources, Purdue University

Citations
1 Thompson, F. R., III, and D. R Dessecker. 1997. Management of early-successional communities in central hardwood forests: with special emphasis on the ecology and management of oaks, ruffed grouse, and forest songbirds. U.S. Forest Service General Technical Report NC-195, St. Paul, MN, USA.

2 Greenberg, C. H., B. Collins, F. R. Thompson, III, and McNab, W. H. 2011. “What are early successional habitats, why are they important, and how can they be sustained?” Pages 1-10 in Sustaining young forest communities: ecology and management of early successional habitats in the Central Hardwood Region, USA. C. H. Greenberg, B. Collins, and F. R. Thompson, III., editors. Springer, New York, NY, USA.

3 Chandler, C. C., D. I. King, and R. B. Chandler. 2012. Do mature birds prefer early-successional habitat during the post-fledging period? Forest Ecology and Management 264:1-9.

4 MacGowan, B.J., Currylow, A.F.T., and MacNeil, J.E. 2017. Short-term responses of Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) to even-aged timber harvests in Indiana. Forest Ecology and Management 387(1):30-36.

5 Olson, Z.H., B.J. MacGowan, M.T. Hamilton, A.F.T. Currylow, and R.N. Williams. 2015. Survival of timber rattlesnakes: Investigating individual, environmental, and ecological effects. Herpetologica 71:274-279.

6 Currylow, A.F., B.J. MacGowan, and R.N. Williams. 2012a. Hibernal thermal ecology of eastern box turtles within a managed forest landscape. Journal of Wildlife Management 77(2):326-335.

7 Currylow, A.F., B.J. MacGowan, and R.N. Williams. 2012b. Short-term forest management effects on a long-lived ectotherm. PLoS ONE 7(7):e40473.

8 MacNeil, J.E. and R.N.Williams. 2014. Effects of timber harvests and silvicultural edges on terrestrial salamanders. PLoS ONE, 9(12):e114683.


Posted on January 23rd, 2018 in Forestry, Timber Marketing, Woodlands | No Comments »

Crowd at FNR property for Forest Management Workshop.This course will provide valuable information for landowners interested in learning more about forests and woodland management in Indiana.

The course will run for eight successive Thursday evenings, covering topics like tree identification, forest biology, forest management planning and techniques, timber harvesting and marketing, wildlife management, and economic considerations for woodland management.

In addition to the evening classes, there will be two Saturday morning field tours at local woodlands.

Registration is $50 per person and limited to 40 attendees.

Dates & Times: Thursday evenings, March 1 to April 19, 2018, 6 to 9 pm. Saturday mornings, April 14 & 19, 9 to noon.

Location: Johnson County Extension Office, 484 North Morton Street, Franklin, IN 46131

For registration and full information view: Forest Management for the Private Woodland Owner Brochure (pdf .567mb)

Resources:
Resources and Assistance Available for Planting Hardwood Seedlings – The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Forest Improvement Handbook – The Education Store
Importance of Hardwood Tree Planting – The Education Store
Designing Hardwood Tree Plantings for Wildlife – The Education Store
Got Nature? – Purdue Forestry & Natural Resources

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Forest treesDon’t miss this opportunity to attend a tree planting workshop! The workshop will cover subjects such as ordering trees, planting trees, spacing, which species to use, soil types, weed control and other related subjects.

Proper planting and good plantation maintenance practices will determine the success or failure of your newly planted seedlings. Many people have planted trees for windbreaks, reforestation, or wildlife habitat and have had rather disappointing results. At the same time others have planted seedlings without losing a single one. During this workshop you will learn many useful ways to be successful with the seedlings you plant this year.

All participants will receive a packet of information containing the latest tree planting information and forest industry bulletins.

Top ten reasons to attend a workshop:

  1. What needs to be done to prepare for tree planting?
  2. What kind of trees do I order?
  3. How many trees do I order?
  4. Where do I plant?
  5. When do I plant?
  6. How do I plant?
  7. What about fertilizer?
  8. What about weed control?
  9. What about insect problems?
  10. What steps are needed after planting?

Sponsors include: Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service; Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources; and the Arrow Head Country Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Area Forestry Committee. Registration for this workshop is $10.00. This will cover one copy of the educational materials provided at the workshop. Spouses may register with one registration fee.

For registration view: Tree Planting Workshop-Feb. 14th.

Location: Fulton County Fairgrounds, 1009 West Third Street Rochester, IN

Workshop questions: Arrow Head Country RC&D, 219.843.4827.

Tree order questions: 812.358.3621.

Resources:
Instructions for Ordering Tree Seedlings – Indiana DNR Division of Forestry
National Nursery and Seed Directory – USDA Forest Service
Web Soil Survey – USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Importance of Hardwood Tree Planting – The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Designing Hardwood Tree Plantings for Wildlife – The Education Store

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on December 13th, 2017 in Forestry, How To, Natural Resource Planning, Wildlife | No Comments »

FNR-551-w CoverOutbreaks of bovine tuberculosis have occurred sporadically around the world since the 1900s. In Bovine Tuberculosis in Wild White-tailed Deer, Bovine tuberculosis transmission, hosts, current status in Indiana, clinical signs, effects on deer populations, effect on white-tailed deer meat, management, and monitoring is extensively covered. If you’re a hunter or cattle producer, the information provided within this free publication would greatly benefit you!

Resources:
Bovine Tuberculosis in wild white-tailed deer, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-FNR
Indiana DNR Needs More Submissions from Deer Hunters for Disease Testing, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-FNR

Jarred Brooke, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

 


Posted on December 4th, 2017 in Forestry, Got Nature for Kids, Wildlife | No Comments »

The Great Clearcut Controversy, FNR-549-WTeachers, parents and outdoor enthusiasts will want to download this free new Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources publication, The Great Clearcut Controversy.  In this inquiry-based teaching unit, students use real scientific data to investigate how a bird community and individual forest animals respond to a clearcut timber harvest. In this investigation, students: use scientific inquiry to gain knowledge and answer questions; apply that knowledge to the engineering design process; and design a viable management solution given the constraints and tradeoffs they discover. All materials used in the three lessons are easily accessible and free.

Resources:
The Nature of Teaching, Purdue Extension
Got Nature? Podcast, Forestry and Natural Resources
Benefits of Connecting with Nature, The Education Store

Skye M Greenler, Graduate Research Assistant
Purdue University. Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Mike Saunders, Associate Professor of Ecology and Natural Resources
Purdue University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on November 22nd, 2017 in Forestry, How To, Wildlife | No Comments »
Deer - Lesions

Lesions from bovine Tb infection in the chest cavity of a wild white-tailed deer. Photo by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR is asking deer hunters for help with a disease surveillance program in Franklin and Fayette counties.

State biologists are sampling deer harvested from portions of those two counties for bovine tuberculosis. After a slow start to the deer firearms season, however, the program is running behind. Biologists have collected just 16 percent of the samples needed to reach their surveillance goal, largely because of weather.

Firearms season started for deer this past Saturday and runs through Dec. 3. Opening weekend was affected by thunderstorms and warm temperatures, which resulted in a lower harvest compared to previous opening weekends.

For example, the combined two-day first-weekend harvest in Franklin and Fayette counties was down about 60 percent from 2016.

The DNR is asking those who hunt in the surveillance zone to help it collect samples. The preference is for bucks that are 2 years old or older, but all deer will be accepted for testing. The DNR hopes to sample between 500 and 1,200 deer, depending on age.

The surveillance zone is the area south of State Road 44 and west of State Road 1 in Fayette County, and in the northwest portion of Franklin County, west of Brookville Lake. View 2017 bTB Surveillance for map.

Surveillance involves collecting and testing lymph nodes from the head and neck of deer harvested by hunters and voluntarily submitted for evaluation.

Hunters can bring their deer to a biological check station at the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site maintenance facility in Metamora, 19083 Clayborn St., and to Mustin’s Processing in Connersville, or Hunters Choice in Brookville.

Hunters who submit a deer for testing will be entered into a drawing for 1 of 10 authorizations to take an additional buck from anywhere in Indiana (with landowner permission) during the 2018-2019 deer hunting season. Hunters who bring the DNR a buck at least 2 years old will receive 10 entries into the drawing. Hunters who bring in does that are at least 2 years old will receive three entries into the drawing. Hunters who bring in yearlings will receive one entry into the drawing. Entries are cumulative — hunters who bring in multiple deer will have an even better chance of winning.
DNR will continue to collect samples from deer harvested within this “bTB” surveillance zone through Jan. 7 (excluding Thanksgiving and several days around Christmas).

For more information view the IDNR website – Current Bovine Tuberculosis Surveillance in Indiana Deer.

Media contact: Marty Benson, DNR Communications, (317) 233-3853, mbenson@dnr.IN.gov.

Resources:
Indiana DNR
Bovine Tuberculosis in wild white-tailed deer, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-FNR

Joe Caudell, State Deer Biologist
Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
812.334.1137



Posted on November 20th, 2017 in Forestry, Got Nature for Kids, How To, Wildlife | No Comments »

Sandhill Cranes in WildHave you walked outside recently and heard a loud rattling bugle coming from the sky, and thought to yourself “what in the world is making that noise?” More than likely, you were hearing the calls of sandhill cranes. Often times you can hear the calls of sandhill cranes long before you see them, and sometimes you may never even see them. Sandhill cranes can fly at altitudes exceeding 1-mile high and their calls can be heard from more than 2 miles away.

Sandhill crane sightings are a common occurrence in Indiana from October through early-December and from February through March as the cranes migrate between their breeding grounds in Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario, and Wisconsin and their wintering grounds in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee.

When and where to view sandhill cranes in Indiana

Sandhill Cranes stopped at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area during fall migration. Photo: Indiana DNR

Sandhill Cranes stopped at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area during fall migration. Photo: Indiana DNR

While sandhill cranes can be viewed throughout the state, Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area in Medaryville, IN is one of the top spots in the eastern U.S. to view sandhill cranes. Jasper-Pulaski lies in the heart of the sandhill’s migratory path, and the birds congregate here in the thousands to tens-of-thousand during the fall and spring migration. Jasper-Pulaski serves as an important staging area for eastern sandhill cranes during migration, and the cranes stop here to rest and replenish their fat reserves to complete the migration.

Fall is the best time of year to view sandhill cranes at Jasper-Pulaski, and more specifically crane numbers are the greatest from mid-November to early-December. The Indiana DNR has a website that provides information about the sandhill crane migration at Jasper-Pulaski. Managers at Jasper-Pulaski even track the number of cranes using the area weekly, throughout the fall migration, and post an estimated count to the website. On Nov. 7th, 4,630 sandhill cranes were counted at Jasper-Pulaski. You can view cranes from the observation deck located just to the west of the Jasper-Pulaski main office.

Other hot spots to view sandhill cranes during migration include Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Area in northeast Indiana, Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in southwest Indiana, and Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Indiana.

Crane Capture

Purdue Wildlife Society members assisted U.S. Fish and Wildlife Researchers with sandhill crane capture and banding at Jasper-Pulaski in the fall of 2010. Photo: Purdue Chapter of The Wildlife Society.

GPS collars on sandhill cranes highlight importance of Jasper-Pulaski

Just how important is Jasper-Pulaski to sandhill cranes? Researchers with The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Minnesota attached Global Positioning System (GPS) collars to sandhill cranes to track their fall and spring migratory routes. A majority of the sandhill cranes, regardless of where spent the summer or winter, stopped at Jasper-Pulaski during the migration. Sandhill cranes spent 34% of the fall and spring migratory period at Jasper-Pulaski, which is almost twice as much time as any other single place on their migratory route. The map below shows the migratory paths taken by GPS-collared sandhill cranes during the fall (gold lines) and spring (blue lines).

Crane Map

The gold lines are migratory paths of individual GPS-collared sandhill cranes during the fall migration, whereas the blue lines are migratory paths during spring migration. Photo: Fronczak et al. 2017

Resources:
Sandhill Cranes Fall Migration, Indiana DNR
International Crane Foundation

Jarred Brooke, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on November 13th, 2017 in Forestry, Gardening, Natural Resource Planning | No Comments »

A recent study in Costa Rica by scientists at Princeton University-Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the University of Pennsylvania-Ecology & Biodiversity showed how agricultural waste could help successfully remediate barren tropical forest sites.

Orange Close Ups

A deal between an orange juice manufacturer and advisors for the Área de Conservación Guanacaste was struck that allowed 1,000 truckloads (12 metric tons) of orange peels and pulp to be unloaded on nutrient-poor soils dominated by invasive grass within one of Costa Rica’s national parks in the mid-1990s. The land was left to rest for sixteen years. Now, the forest has begun the lengthy process of regeneration and some secondary forest regeneration has been observed. The peels were spread over 3 ha (7 acres) and scientists measured an increase of 176% in aboveground biomass. The distinction between the orange-fertilized land and the unfertilized areas was pronounced. Orange-fertilized areas demonstrated more tree biomass and species diversity and richer soils than their counterparts.

Orange field change

To enlarge photo click on image. Photo credits: Tim Treuer, Daniel Janzen, Winnie Hallwachs, & Leland Werden.

This research shows what could happen when the environmental community and industry find a medium where they can work together to come up with problem solutions. Perhaps, in future, similar uses can be found for agricultural excess here in the United States.

References:
Treuer TLH, Choi JJ, Janzen DH, Hallwachs W, Peréz-Aviles D, Dobson AP, Powers JS, Shanks LC, Werden LK, Wilcove DS. (2017) Low-cost agricultural waste accelerates tropical forest regeneration. Restoration Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/rec.12565

Resources:
Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Association
Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources workshops
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center

Shaneka Lawson, USDA Forest Service/HTIRC Research Plant Physiologist/Adjunct Assistant Professor
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


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