Status of Indiana’s Forest Resources - Sustainable Natural Resources Task Force 12/8/11


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Slides from presentation given by John Seifert, Director, Div of Forestry, Indiana Department of Natural Resources at the 12/8/11 Indiana Sustainable Natural Resources Task Force meeting.

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  • Indiana’s Forest Action Plan (a.k.a Statewide Forest Strategy) came out of a national process (much like the earlier Wildlife Action Plan) but gave us a chance really do a good job of evaluating stakeholder opinion on forest issues in the state and seeing what kind of forests people want to see in the future.
  • We have 5 main strategies that came out of the process. They are to:1.) Conserve, manage and protect existing forests, especially large forest patches 2.) Restore and connect forests, especially in riparian areas 3.) Expand Best Management Practices, with special attention to invasive species 4.) Coordinate education, training and technical assistance, especially to develop strategic partnerships with land-use decision makers 5.) Maintain and expand markets for Indiana hardwoods, especially those that are sustainably certified and for local use
  • Also of note: This is the first STATEWIDE plan for all of Indiana’s forests 5 million acres (not just our 150 thousand in State Forests) since the early 1980s and it is all tied in to GIS, setting the basis for increasingly science based and extremely accurate planning as we move forward into the future.
  • Although the industry has been in a slump for the past few years, the forest products industry continues to be a viable economic contributor to the state of Indiana.
  • I would expect production to remain static for the next year or 2. Note, per FIA data – our current growth to removal ratio is 2.75 / 1
  • Based on 2010 enrollment.
  • Very strong growth in program for next 5 years due to counties reassessment of forest land from agricultural to excess residential. With full staffing program could expect 20,000 + acres per year. 2011 (16,000) and 2012 (18,000) a little lower than the expected of 20,000 acres due to staffing issues (retirements, hiring, training). After 2015 a slowing of enrollments to a more program normal of 10,000 acres per year. Estimates are based on ability to retain and hire staff to support the program.
  • Timber Stand Improvement includes grape vine control and other TSI. BdFt and acres are estimates were derived by taking the total number reported * the average size based on those landowners that included BdFT or acres.
  • Very strong growth in program for next 5 years due to counties reassessment of forest land from agricultural to excess residential. With full staffing program could expect 20,000 + acres per year. 2011 (16,000) and 2012 (18,000) a little lower than the expected of 20,000 acres due to staffing issues (retirements, hiring, training). After 2015 a slowing of enrollments to a more program normal of 10,000 acres per year. Estimates are based on ability to retain and hire staff to support the program.
  • Capital funding is major funding mechanism for forest restoration activities on State ForestsOver 4,700 acres of forest restoration work on Indiana’s State Forests was completed in 2010. This work positions these forests for continued health and productivity, providing jobs, wood products and other forest benefits for Hoosiers today and tomorrow. Primary work included reforestation of retired agricultural fields (117 acres), control of invasive plant species (403 acres), prescribed fires, timber stand improvements (3,996 acres) and wildlife habitat activity (213 acres).
  • Maintaining a wide variety of forest types, size classes and structure creates diversehabitat conditions which can support an equally diverse array of native flora and fauna. Prior to European settlement, the diversity of Indiana’s forests was maintained by a combination of natural disturbance events and Native American activities. These early events, such as landscape-scale wildfires, wind events, and small-scale clearing for agriculture created a patchwork forest of various size and age classes. This variety of forest conditions is the foundation of the wide range of diversity of plants and animals found in Indiana’s forests today. Many of these landscape scale events have been eliminated or altered in today’s Indiana forests. Carefully planned and executed timber harvests are used to bring back the positive effects of these earlier events to our forests while managing against the unacceptable negative aspects.The Continuous Forest Inventory program established a good number research plots in each State Forest that are measured every 5 years to track forest changes and sustainability issues.The HEE Hoosier Ecosystem Experiment established research study areas at Morgan Monroe and Yellowwood State forests to study forest interactions, species diversity, and particular species in detail under several land management regimes. This long term project is partnering with several universities and is intended to continue for 100 years. State Forests provide ideal study areas due to size and activity as working forests.
  • American Chestnut was wiped out in the early 1910’s by the Chestnut Blights. Genetic researchers are only a few years away from developing blight resistant strains that could help return this species to Indiana.Forestry’s Yellowwood Lake in Brown County and Starve Hollow Lake in Jackson county have sediment removal projects completed or underway.For nearly a decade, management activities on State Forest properties have been conducted in accordance with a series of special guidelines and strategies designed to protect the federally endangered Indiana bat and its habitat. Management guidelines and strategies address various habitat requirements throughout the year, and include vital protection measures for the caves where bats hibernate through the winter and maternity roosts where females and their young find cover during the summer. To further complement the DoF’s efforts to protect Indiana bat habitat on State Forests, a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) is currently being developed in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). An HCP is a legally binding agreement between the USFWS and either a private entity or a state that specifies conservation measures that will be implemented to minimize and mitigate harm to threatened or endangered species. In exchange for the HCP, the USFWS can issue a permit that would allow a landowner to proceed with an activity that is legal in all other respects but results in the incidental taking of a listed species. Once adopted, the DoF’s HCP will be the first ever to have addressed Indiana bat management concerns on an actively managed forest, providing a positive model for other states, natural resource agencies, and forest managers.The DoF recently developed a draft Environmental Assessment to evaluate the possible short- and long-term habitat impacts from the maximum management intensity necessary to maintain the current proportion of oak-hickory forest across the State Forest system. Researchers, land managers, and conservationists agree, maintaining the oak-hickory forest type throughout the Central Hardwood region is of critical importance to the native wildlife species found here, and the DoF believes future management should emphasize the preservation of this essential, yet threatened, forest type. The status, habitat requirements, and major threats of each listed species found on State Forests were evaluated to determine possible direct and cumulative impacts. Though the DoF is exempt from completing and Environmental Assessment for each of its forest management activities we took this initiative to better understand potential impacts of such a large system-wide program.The DoF provides substantial support for research on State Forests that investigates issues and questions related to forest management and wildlife conservation. Among the species of greatest conservation need that are currently being studied on State Forests: the state endangered cerulean warbler and numerous other neotropical migrant bird species, Indiana bats and other forest bat species, timber rattlesnakes, and box turtles. Recent past research on forest bats, including the federally endangered Indiana bat, has provided a better understanding of what species can be found on State Forests and which habitats are used most often by bats. Research on wildlife populations and habitat is critical for effective management and conservation; the DoF recognizes this need and dedicates a significant proportion of timber sale revenue towards such research efforts
  • Status of Indiana’s Forest Resources - Sustainable Natural Resources Task Force 12/8/11

    1. 1. Sustainable Natural Resources Task Force- Status of Indiana’s Forest Resources December 8, 2011 John R. Seifert, Director, Division of Forestry Indiana Department of Natural Resources
    2. 2. Historical Context (Pre & European Settlement)• 90% of Indiana was forested when the early Europeans arrived• During settlement time the forest was viewed as a source of material for building a homestead• The rest of the forest was cleared for subsistence farming• By the early 1900’s most of the land in Indiana had been cleared for agriculture
    3. 3. 1900 – 1960’s• Continued clearing of forest patches but at a slower pace• The value of timber (wood) begins to improve such that landowners considered management and marketing• The beginning of the price differentiation for various trees species• Environmental issues surrounding forest harvesting begin to appear• Wildlife, water, recreation and aesthetics become discussion points with the public relative of forest management
    4. 4. Current Social and Economic Forest Issues• A balance between environmental issues and economic drivers – pay the taxes, pay the mortgage, new options for higher and best use of the land• Fewer people remember their historical roots (on the farm) and have lost touch with the biological world – forests are dynamic and changing• Most Hoosiers rely on mass media, 30 second sound bites and social media to provide their science• More competing economic uses for the land
    5. 5. 2009 DNR Forestry Commissioned Public Opinion Survey - Indiana• 48% “very concerned” and another 45% “somewhat concerned” about the long term health of Indiana’s woodlands• 55% thought 3% public ownership of Indiana woodlands was “not enough”• 72% agreed with the statement “The amount of forestland in Indiana is shrinking.”• Respondents identified “urban sprawl” as the highest threat to Indiana woodlands
    6. 6. Survey Results on Harvesting• 95% approved removing trees to protect from insect and diseases• 85% approved harvesting if done by a professional forester• 82% approved of harvesting to improve places for wildlife• 61% approved of harvesting to make lumber and other wood products• 88% agreement: “IN woodlands should be managed for a balance of wood products, wildlife, recreation and good water
    7. 7. Indiana Forest Action Plan A national process with a Hoosier result
    8. 8. Survey of Resource Professionals and Private LandownersIndiana Forest Issue Relative Importance ScoreFragmentation and/or conversion of forests to another land use 507Conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources 425The spread and control of invasive species 421Conservation of biodiversity 364Counterproductive government forest conservation related policies 249Availability of land for public recreation 234High cost of forest ownership and low incentives to retain 226Conservation of forests that protect drinking water supplies 206Overpopulation of white-tailed deer 194Inadequate public education about forests 166Sustaining Indianas forest product industry 160Lack of active management on forests 146Sustainable regeneration of oak woodlands 138Inadequate youth education about forests 94Lack of healthy woodlands and trees in urban areas 90The control of forest fires 73The loss of fire dependent plant communities and habitats 67Forests not managed for carbon storage 45
    9. 9. Indiana Forest Action Plan Strategies 1.) Conserve, manage and protect existing forests 2.) Restore and connect forests 3.) Expand Best Management Practices 4.) Coordinate education, training and technical assistance 5.) Maintain and expand markets for Indiana hardwoods Full plan available here:
    10. 10. Patch Name Acres % Forested % Protected % Public % CFWRavinia 72,151 69% 7.7% 5.8% 8.9%South-Central Indiana Patch 2,532,989 68% 22.0% 21.8% 9.5%Patoka 139,686 62% 15.9% 15.9% 7.1%Bluegrass 645,169 60% 11.4% 11.2% 5.1%Whitewater 222,108 59% 8.7% 8.6% 7.9%Sugar Creek 62,092 57% 11.5% 11.2% 17.9%Little Pigeon 54,448 53% 8.6% 8.6% 8.2%Raccoon 67,283 51% 5.6% 5.6% 13.0%Minnehaha 96,458 50% 32.5% 32.5% 2.5%
    11. 11. Beyond Political Boundaries• Average patch size by natural area ranges from a low of 23 forested acres in the Black Swamp to 968 acres in the Shawnee Hills.• Strategy # 2 to focus on restoring and connecting forests (especially in riparian areas)
    12. 12. Forest Land Use Change in Indiana• Forest change based on satellite imagery comparison shows a large amount of change – 1,272,820 acres of land weren’t forest in 1992 but were forest in 2009. – 924,680 acres of land were forest in 1992 but were not forest in 2009.
    13. 13. Indiana Forest Action Plan Impacts • Increasingly targeted federal dollars (state) • Increasingly competitive federal allocations must relate to plan • Greater stakeholder engagement and understanding of issues
    14. 14. Current Strengths• Increasing forested acreage, volume per acre and quality• Very diverse forest species composition – economic and environmental• Historically strong primary and secondary forest products industry• Long history of professional forest management – Classified Forest and Wildlands Program• Strong demand for land ownership
    15. 15. Forest Resource InformationForest Inventory & Analysis (FIA)Continuous Forest Inventory (CFI)•State Forest Properties System•Classified Forest System
    16. 16. Total Economic Impact: $16.6 billion * Every board foot of timber processed had $61 of economic impact. * 87.7 percent of logs processed in Indiana were harvested in IndianaThere are 4,713,557 acres of forest land in Indiana; * 84 percent is privately owned * 98 percent is available for timber production * 98 percent is hardwoods Timber value of managed forests is about 34 percent higher than unmanaged forests.Total Value of Shipments of $8.1 billion was 2.8 percent of Indiana’s Gross Domestic Product. * $164 million was paid to landowners for timber. * For every $1 paid to landowners for timber, $48 of value was added in the production of final products.The hardwood industry employed 35,641 people * An additional 86,139 jobs were generated in economic sectors supporting or supported by the hardwood industrySource – Indiana’s Hardwood Industry: Its Economic Impact (updated 2010-Hoover/Settle)
    17. 17. Sawmills in Indiana600 519500 444 406400 369 308300 271 236200 206 184 207100 0 1961 1966 1971 1980 1984 1990 1995 2000 2005 2008 The number of mills has dropped 65% since 1966. However, since 1995 the number of mills have been fairly stable dropping only 12%. If the economy doesn’t begin to pick up, we expect more mills to shut down. We do not expect any significant turnaround for another 2 years. Source – 2008 Timber Product Output Survey
    18. 18. Industrial Roundwood Production in Thousand Cubic Feet90,000 81,089 80,12180,000 74,21670,000 66,446 63,83960,00050,00040,00030,00020,00010,000 0 1990 1995 2000 2005 2008 Roundwood production has declined 21% since 1990. Products include sawlogs, veneer logs, pulpwood, staves, handles, and other products. Source – 2008 Timber Product Output Survey
    19. 19. 1921 Classified ForestProgram1979 Classified WildlifeHabitat Program2006 Programs merge toform Classified Forest &Wildlands ProgramProgram providesproperty tax benefit forenrolled lands ($1/acreassessment)Landowner must manageland according tomanagement plan.Administered by Divisionof Forestry
    20. 20. PROGRAM ENROLLMENT Classified Forest Program 2000-2005 Classified Forest & Wildlands Program 2006 - Present 700,000 52.3% growth/10 yrs 650,000 600,000 550,000Acres 500,000 Program Enrollment 450,000 400,000 350,000 300,000 * Year * In 2006, Classified Forest Program & Classified Wildlife Habitat Program merged to create Classified Forest & Wildlands Program
    21. 21. Classified Forest & WildlandsEnrolled Lands by Habitat Type
    22. 22. Projected Classified Enrollment 850,000 800,000 13,000 tracts 750,000 700,000Acres 650,000 600,000 550,000 500,000 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
    23. 23. Classified Forest & Wildlands 2010 Management Activities• 519 Timber Harvests (39.8 million BdFt)• 322 Tree Plantings (2,500 acres)• 2,778 Timber Stand Improvement Project (52,00 acres)
    24. 24. Projected Classified Enrollment 850,000 800,000 750,000 700,000Acres 650,000 600,000 550,000 500,000 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
    25. 25. Division of Forestry “Green” Forest Certification• State Forests – Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) & Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) – 153,000 acres certified – 12,000,000 BdFT• Classified Forest & Wildlands – American Tree Farm System & Forest Stewardship Council – 555,000+ acres certified – 38,000,000 Bdft
    26. 26. Cost Share Three Year Trends$1,800,000.00 < 5% of all IN EQIP federal dollars spent on forestry practices$1,600,000.00$1,400,000.00$1,200,000.00$1,000,000.00 Total Dollars Forestry Practices $800,000.00 Invasive Spieces Control $600,000.00 $400,000.00 $200,000.00 $- 2009 2010 2011
    27. 27. IWRP• Summer 2006 to Winter 2007• Three sign ups 200K each• 15,605 Acres affected• Backlog ~ 150k each sign up• 5,000 Acres in backlog each signup• Timber Stand Improve 85% of Projects
    28. 28. State Forests
    29. 29. Indiana’s State Forest System• Working lands managed for multiple benefits – 13 State Forests – 156,000 acres – Includes 17 nature preserves (2,369 acres) – Timber, wildlife, hunting, foraging, camping, lakes, firewood – 4,500 acres forest restoration activities annually • Reforestation, forest improvement, invasive species, erosion control.
    30. 30. State Forests- Surrounding States (Only Indiana and Ohio Certified as Well Managed byinternational certification systems –Green Certification)
    31. 31. Indiana State Forests Conserving Biodiversity• Sustainable Forest Resource Management • Timber harvests and restoration activities administered by professional foresters at all forests • Forest management results in habitat diversity, supporting greater species diversity • Several Nature Preserves established and managed• Certified as well managed by FSC & SFI • 14 million board feet green certified hardwoods sold last FY • Approximately $3 million (15% returned to counties) • Harvest approximately 50% of annual growth • State Forest continue to increase in timber volume• Forest Research – HEE project (a 100 year effort) – In Eastern US only Missouri has a similar project – Independent research projects ongoing (2011: 15 projects, 11 partners) – Continuous Forest Inventory system remeasured
    32. 32. Indiana State Forests Conservation Concerns• Public support • Indiana DNR and the Division of Forestry has a long positive history - the envy of many states• Protection of important lands – Consolidating ownership improves sustainability – General land acquisition funding has declined while land availability has gone up• Management of invasive species (plants, animals, insects, disease) – Work never ends – Reintroduction of American Chestnut a possibility• Protecting species of greatest conservation need – Indiana bat habitat conservation plan – Environmental Assessment completed for 2008-2027 – Research includes management effects on endangered species
    33. 33. The Value of Forests for Wildlife• Over 330 wildlife species found in Indiana use forests or woodlands• Most of these (approximately 58%) use forests or woodlands as their primary habitat type• 56% of Indiana’s wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need use forests or woodlands – Mammals: 20 of 22 – Birds: 16 of 47 – Amphibians: 6 of 11 – Reptiles: 13 of 19• Five Federally listed wildlife species use Indiana forests and woodlands
    34. 34. Land Acquisition History 1998 - 2008• 74 Projects – 9,431 acres• Various funding sources – IHT, INDOT funds, timber sale funds, donations, coal mining compensation• Various Partners – TNC, NWTF, trail users – hikers and horses• Inconsistent over years – some years had less than 100 acres acquired, some had over 1,500 acres
    35. 35. Acquisition History 1998 - 2008 2000Acres Acquired 1500 1000 500 0 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Year
    36. 36. Timber Sale Funds in Land Acquisition• 1,040 acres have been purchased using funding solely from timber sale revenues with a total cost of $2.65 million.• An additional 160 acres are being purchased solely with $430,000 of timber sale revenues.• An additional 2,750 acres have been or are being purchased a major contribution of timber sale revenues. Of the over $6 million purchase price of these, over $3.5 million is from timber sale revenues.
    37. 37. Opportunities for Future Acquisition• Currently there are four larger parcels available for acquisition that combined contain over 2,000 acres.• There are over two dozen smaller parcels available that combined contain over 1,000 acres.• These would take an estimated $6 - $9 million in funding to purchase.
    38. 38. Opportunities for Future Acquisition• An annual allotment of $1.5 - $2 million for land acquisition would allow for the acquisition of 500 – 1000+ acres every year (depending on per acre cost).• The acquisition strategy would be to target one or two larger “project” parcels, and then several smaller ones that improve management of existing state forest lands.
    39. 39. Disincentives (Opportunities) to Owning Woodlands In Indiana• Long term nature of forest management• Periodic income stream• More non-monetary demands on woodlands• Other than lumber, no well established monetary streams• Limited opportunities for cost share assistance• Typically higher and better use of the land - $• Very few legacy partnership/families• Majority of land transfers results in the extraction of resources faster than can be replaced
    40. 40. Opportunities/Challenges• Long term consistent forest management program• More professional management• Increased demand for limited number of State DNR foresters• A large number of private woodland owners willing to sell to the Division/ -- no funding• Ever increasing demand for cost share dollar to assist in long term forest management• Maintaining a viable forest products industry within the state – primary and secondary• All cost share policy and support is driven at the Federal level - IWRP first state cost program ever attempted• There has not been a real landscape changing proposal on forest sustainability since the Classified Forest program of 1921
    41. 41. Opportunities/Challenges (continued)• There has not been a real landscape changing proposal on forest sustainability since the Classified Forest program of 1921 – back then the property taxes were the primary expense• Economics drive the majority of all environmental decisions at the private sector level
    42. 42. Challenges to Forest Wildlife in Indiana (from: Indiana Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy, 2005)• Habitat loss ranked top forest wildlife problem• Top 5 Forest Habitat Threats: 1. Developmental Sprawl 2. Habitat Fragmentation 3. Habitat Degradation 4. Unsustainable Agricultural/Forestry Practices 5. Successional Change
    43. 43. DoF Meeting Challenges to Forest Wildlife1&2. Developmental Sprawl / Fragmentation• Best defense = large contiguous forest units, long- term forest protection• State forests = large forest units, limits fragmentation from non-forest land uses• Future state forest acquisitions targeted to grow existing units and reduce inholding fragmentation• Legislative intent, long-term protection and resource conservation
    44. 44. DoF Meeting Challenges to Forest Wildlife1&2. Limiting Sprawl/Fragmentation on private forestland• Incentives to keep private forests forested o Classified Forest & Wildlands program o Develop IN Forest Mitigation Bank program o Other cost-share programs• Maintain and Grow Large Forest Patches o Strategic Forestland Conservation program o Statewide Forest Assessment identified high priority conservation areas, includes existing areas of high forest cover and corridors along riparian areas and between isolated forest patches
    45. 45. DoF Meeting Challenges to Forest Wildlife3&4. Habitat Degradation/ Unsustainable Practices• Third-party Certification (SFI, FSC) o State Forests and Classified Forest participants o Certification requires strict adherence to rigorous criteria and frequent audits o Promotes only sustainable practices that maintain or enhance healthy forest communities and habitats• Non-timber Resources Featured in Management Planning o Classified Forest Stewardship Plans o State Forest Management Guides o Emphasizes resource conservation; ensures protection of rare resources, like T&E species and unique communities; addresses invasive species
    46. 46. DoF Meeting Challenges to Forest Wildlife5. Managing Succession & Balancing Forest Age Classes• Maturing forests = Young forest habitats dwindling o Most IN forest wildlife species use early successional habitats for at least some life requirements o Early successional forest identified among “most threatened” forest habitats; <6% of statewide forestland is classified as early successional o Important to many of Indiana’s species of greatest conservation need, including whip-poor-will and golden- winged warbler
    47. 47. DoF Meeting Challenges to Forest Wildlife5. Managing Succession & Balancing Forest Age Classes• Forest management is an important tool for maintaining and improving biodiversity• State Forest goal to balance age classes; 10% of acreage in both early successional and older forest conditions• Use both even- and uneven-age harvest methods on State Forests to diversify forest condition and habitat opportunities• Cost share programs available to private forest owners to develop early successional habitats