Southern Indiana has some of the most productive and ecologically and economically significant forests in the Central Hardwood Forest region. Wednesday, June 19th will include a number of field trip options on federal, state and private lands. You will be asked to select your first and second options during registration and based on space we will try to accomodate your first request.
The field tour has been reviewed and is approved for professional CFE credits by the Society of American Foresters: Category 1-CF : 5
Field trip options may include:
1. Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment
This tour will visit a clearcut and shelterwood cut in the Yellowwood State Forest and mature forest stands in Brown County State Park to discuss:
- Silvicultural history of the experiment and results of different silvicultural techniques on regeneration
- Impacts of different harvest regimes on species and populations of birds, bats, reptiles, deer, insects, and other fauna
- Issues related to maintaining Central Hardwood forest types in the absence of large scale disturbance
The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment (HEE) is an interdisciplinary 100 year study of the effects of forest management on forest communities, wildlife populations, and social attitudes. Brown County State Park is Indiana’s largest state park and most of the park’s nearly 16,000 acres have been reserved from timber harvesting for more than half a century.
2. Unique Forest Communities in Indiana
We will first visit one of Indiana’s best examples of old growth, Donaldson’s Woods at Spring Mill State Park. You will learn about the history of the site, its composition and structure, local disturbance ecology, and past and current research on the site including biomass and carbon storage. We will then travel to Baseline Barrens, a 70-acre Nature Preserve containing a state and globally rare barrens community, as well as good quality mesic and dry mesic forest communities. “Prairie openings” here contain rare and interesting plants that would usually be found in northern Indiana. We will discuss the barrens plant community, management of the site with fire and woody plant removal, invasive species, and local natural history.
3. Forest Management on the Hoosier National Forest with Emphasis on Oak Regeneration
The Hoosier National Forest is predominantly oak/hickory on 202,000 acres in the hills of south central Indiana. Tour stops may include:
- Dutch Ridge Timber Sale—Recent timber sale purchased by National Wild Turkey Federation, in exchange for mowing and maintenance of wildlife openings.
- Fire Tower—Discuss history and ecology of the Charles C. Deam Wilderness, the ecological process of going from forest land to private farmsteads to national forest with both natural reforestation and planting of pines, and the challenges involved with non-native invasive plants and insects.
- Old Clearcut— Discuss post-harvest regeneration using work done by Fischer-Morrissey and Weigel-Swaim. Also discuss the importance of oak stump sprouting to future oak presence.
- Oak Planting—Discuss the use of oak planting in stand regeneration to increase the presence of oak.
- Fork Ridge Prescribed Burn—Discuss the use of prescribed fire in regenerating oak.
4. Crane Naval Weapons Support Center (NWSC) Tour
Crane NWSC is a 25,279-ha (62,465 ac) facility (third largest naval installation in the world) located about 90 miles southwest of Indianapolis, Indiana. NSWC Crane is home to critical military testing and evaluation facilities, including the DoD’s largest facility for electronic warfare, sensors and electronics.
Approximately 75% of the property is classified as Central Hardwoods Forest. Managers at Crane NWSC use ecosystem management, which will “…maintain and improve the sustainability and biological diversity of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems while supporting sustainable economies, human use, and the environment required for realistic military training operations.” Crane NWSC offers a unique setting given its history of timber harvesting across space and time, and management challenges in dealing with Indiana bat within the context of comprehensive ecosystem management.
5. Marengo Cave Tour – cancelled due to low attendance
6. Indiana University Ecological Research
Indiana University manages the AmeriFlux/FLUXNET tower (http://www.indiana.edu/~co2/home/) located in the Morgan-Monroe State Forest which lies 15 miles NE of Bloomington, IN. The tower has continuously measured the fluxes of carbon dioxide, water, and energy over the surrounding deciduous forest since 1998, ranking it among the longest running tower sites in the US. Tour participants will learn about ongoing research in carbon cycling in forests.
The Lilly-Dickey Woods, a 220-hectare forest in Brown County, Indiana, valued as an important central hardwoods forest. The forest lies near the center of the Nature Conservancy’s Brown County Hills region, targeted as a prime location for forest conservation. Lilley-Dickey Woods was designated as part of the Indiana University Research and Teaching Preserve (IURTP) in 2003. Recently IU researchers completed mapping and identifying every tree >= 1 cm d.b.h. in a 62-ac area. The site is now included in the Smithsonian Institutes Global Earth Observatory network of forest research areas that utilize the same methodology. The tour group will learn about the research going on at the site and within the Smithsonian network of plots. Photo courtesy IU.
Agendas subject to change.