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Indiana forestry group, local scientists oppose Brown County forest logging

Posted: 1:49 PM, Nov 07, 2017
Updated: 2017-11-08 12:27:47-05

BROWN COUNTY, Ind. -- More than 200 local scientists from colleges across Indiana have signed a letter urging Gov. Eric Holcomb to set aside more of Indiana state forests from commercial logging. 

This letter comes as the state is about to auction off the logging rights to the 299 acres in the Yellowwood State Forest in Brown County.

The auction is set to take place on Nov. 9. Yellowwood State Forest was created in 1940. According to Indiana law, 85 percent of profits from logging go to the state forestry fund, and the other 15 go into the county's general fund. 

In 2002, 40 percent of Indiana state forests were set aside from commercial logging, and in 2017 less than 5% is set aside, according to the letter.

Neighbors in Brown County are also concerned.

"We've got trees old enough that they are pre-American Revolution up there," said David Seastrom.

Though the Department of Natural Resources is organizing a "single-tree selection harvest," which includes harvesting no more than five to seven trees per acre, some people are skeptical.

"We want people to call the governor. Please let him know that you oppose the sale and that you want him to step in because he could stop the sale overnight," said Sandra Messner with the Indiana Forrest Alliance.

Hocolmb said he hasn't made a final decision.

"I want to review and read every word. That's what I do. I'm data driven, but I think we share the same goal and that is to have healthy forests," said Holcomb.

The 228 scientists who signed a letter to Holcomb come from the following institutions: 

  • Indiana State University
  • Earlham College
  • University of Indianapolis
  • Butler University
  • University of Evansville
  • Indiana University Kokomo
  • Wabash College
  • Depauw University
  • Hanover College
  • Franklin College
  • Ball State University
  • Manchester University
  • IU Bloomington
  • IUPUI - Fort Wayne
  • Valparaiso University
  • Bloomington High School North

Click here to read the full letter.

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