Woodlands provide a multitude of environmental (e.g., carbon sequestration, enhance water quality, wildlife habitat), economic (e.g., timber, wood products manufacturing, tourism), and social (e.g., recreation, aesthetics) benefits to Indiana residents. The sustainability of these benefits is strongly tied to stability of the resource. In Indiana, 75 percent of the 4.65 million acres of forestland is owned by families. Of these 3.5 million acres, 14.2 percent (496,000 acres) is held in tracts of less than 10 acres. Sixty-three percent (140,000) of the 220,000 family owners in the state hold less than 10 acres. Seventeen percent have owned their forestland for less than 10 years. Sixty-six percent (139,000) of these owners do not have a management plan. These small acreage (<10 acres) forestland owners are not reached by current technical assistance programs, but their actions potentially can have a significant impact since 82 percent include the family’s primary residence.
An Area 5 Forest Management Twilight Tour of the woodlands at the Vermillion Co. 4-H Science & Conservation Center was offered. This program was designed to help woodland owners learn about forest management including: Tree Identification, Timber Stand Improvement, Invasive Species Identification & Control, Timber Harvesting & Marketing, Wildlife Management, Non-timber forest products, and any other woodlands issue that might be brought up.
Based on the information presented at the program, the following breakdown of activities would be adopted by the participants in the next 12 months:
In addition, 100% of the participants said that the program was useful in providing new knowledge to help make future decisions; and 71% said that the program was useful to “take action” to manage their woodlands. The other 29% said that the program was somewhat useful to “take action” to manage their woodlands.