Buying locally, particularly food products from local growers, has become a popular way to support local community business and live an environmentally responsible life style. In Indiana, there is another product that is renewable, recycleable, sustainable, and grown locally in abundant supply and high quality - hardwood timber. Indiana is approximatley 20-21 percent forest land and is home to over 100 species of native trees, most of which are deciduous hardwoods. Our hardwood forests and tree plantings provide habitat for wildlife, protection for soil and water resources, recreational opportunities for hikers, campers, birdwatchers, and hunters, and beautiful landscape scenes every season of the year. They also provide us with a renewable and sustainable supply of fine hardwood forest products, many of which are harvested, processed, and turned into consumer products by companies here in Indiana. The forests of Indiana are owned primarily by it's private citizens, about 84% of the forest is held by individuals as part of a farm or personal woodland. Many of these owners use income from selling trees to maintain their woodlands, pay property taxes, and support their families. Wages paid by loggers, lumber mills, and wood product companies like flooring, furniture and cabinet manufacturers support thousands of families and add billions of dollars to the Indiana economy. The wood products manufacturing industry is the leading employer in the agriculture sector in Indiana. Diversity seems to be the theme for Indiana wood products. We have many tree species that enter the marketplace in one form or another, including oak, ash, maple, walnut, cherry, tuliptree, hickory, and even sassafras and sycamore. The products produced run the range of our interests and lifespans, from cradles to caskets and all the floors, furniture, cabinets and doors we use in between. If you are concerned about responsible use of our natural resources, you can feel pretty good about Indiana wood as well. Extensive forest inventories administered by the US Forest Service and the State DNR indicate annual growth of wood volume exceeds harvest and natural mortality by over three times. DNR Division of Forestry state forest lands, the privately held Classified Forest and Wildlands properties, and privately held Tree Farm properties are certified as meeting sustainable forest management criteria as determined by internationally recognized forest sustainability certifing organizations. Many landowners recognize the value of using a professional forester to help them meet their property management goals in a renewable, responsible, sustainable way. They are also helping us all enjoy the opportunity to own another great locally grown product - Indiana hardwoods.
If you are looking for a forester to assist you with management on your property visit Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Associaiton (IFWOA) - Directory of Professional Foresters.
To find out more about the forest products of Indiana visit Indiana Forest Products Community.
To learn more about the extent and sustainability of Indiana forests visit The Sustainability of Indiana's Forest Resources.
Lenny Farlee, Extension Forester, Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center
Forestry & Natural Resources, Purdue University