Forest FAQS

Questions we frequently hear…

Is Forestry Important In Indiana?

Forest products is the sixth-largest industry in the Hoosier State, employing more than 50,000 people (most in the southern half of the state). Indiana ranks third in the nation in hardwood lumber production and ninth in total lumber production. Roughly 95 percent of Indiana forests are classified as hardwood.

Are Indiana’s Forestlands Dissappearing?

Actually, the amount of forestland in Indiana has steadily increased since the early 1900s. Today we have more than 4.8 million acres of forestland, covering roughly 20 percent of the state’s land. That compares to about 1.5 million acres 100 years ago and just 3.9 million acres in 1967. Although some acres are cleared every year for urban expansion and agricultural production, more efficient use of forest resources, more acres under professional management, and incentives that encourage landowners to maintain forestlands have contributed to the overall increase.

Doesn’t Timber Harvesting Destroy Forests?

Quite the opposite. Timber harvesting that’s overseen by our members is not the “clear-cutting” that’s often described by the media. It involves a careful, thoughtful selection process that considers not only which trees are most desirable for harvesting, but also steps that can be taken to help the remaining trees thrive and new trees take root. As professionals, our goal is to enhance and strengthen woodlands for generations to come.

Shouldn’t We Leave Virgin Forests Alone?

Many people mistakenly believe that Indiana’s forests are thousands of years old. The reality is that our state has very few acres of old-growth forests. When Indiana was settled early in the 19th century, the pioneers cleared almost all of the woodlands. Nearly all of the towering trees you see today were planted or regenerated later. Many “old” forests are barely a century old.

The trees planted by former landowners were not always species that were native to our state or well-suited for our soil and geology. A key part of forest management is choosing species that are most likely to thrive and enhance the surrounding habitat. Removing invasive and less-healthy trees helps the native species flourish.

What Are Invasive Species and Why Should I Be Concerned?

Non-native species of trees and other foliage have been introduced to Indiana woodlands by property owners who aren’t aware of the threat they pose to native ecosystems. Examples include Bush Honeysuckle, Autumn Olive, and the Ailanthus tree (known as the Tree of Heaven). Well-meaning landowners plant these and other species because they look attractive or because they grow easily. Unfortunately, these invasive plants can quickly become dominant, driving out native and more beneficial species. Having invasive species in your woodland can harm the natural ecosystem, because they compete for resources with your native trees and other desirable plants. By eliminating invasive species, you help the native species thrive.

What Is A Consulting Forester?

Consulting foresters are independent professionals who serve landowners by managing their forests and ethically marketing forest products on their behalf. We work directly with woodland owners and Indiana’s wood-using industries to harvest trees in a manner that sustains and strengthens our state’s beautiful forests. We can offer guidance on adding to, sustaining, and regenerating tree growth to deliver a healthy and sustainable woodland. A forester can help you add recreational features such as trails to your woodlands, show you ways to enhance habitats that draw and sustain wildlife, and help you protect streams that run through or along your property.

Why Should I Work With A Consulting Forester?

In simple terms, because we’ll treat your woodlands as though they’re ours. Our members become professional foresters because we love the forest and recognize its importance to society, both ecologically and economically. We want all forests to be as healthy as possible. If your goal is to care for and enhance your woodlands, we’d be honored to serve as your partner.

A consulting forester will walk through your land with you and point out features and species you may not have noticed. We’ll identify the natural advantages of your woodland and show you what changes you can make to increase its health. We can also deepen your understanding about the value of your trees. We enjoy educating landowners about woodlands, because the more owners know, the more they appreciate the value of their resource and the services we can provide.

Why Choose An ACF Forester?

Our members are required to meet strict professional and ethical standards, and to act in your best interest. We’re not allowed to buy timber, so you can count on unbiased advice and expert options. ACF Foresters must:
• be a professional forester specializing in forestry consulting for the general public.
• have earned at least a Bachelor’s degree with a major in forestry from an approved college or university.
• have practiced professionally for at least five years.
• successfully complete specific continuing education programs and continue to obtain credits.

What Do Consulting Foresters Charge?

There’s such a wide range of fees that depend upon the specific services and acreage that it would be impossible to provide even a rough approximation. Any of our members would be happy to discuss your needs and develop an estimate. As you consider the cost, we recommend that you focus on the value a consulting forester will bring to your woodland. Our primary interest is serving your interests. We can help you obtain the greatest value for your timber, and plan for a harvest that will enhance the long-term health of your woodland.

A Logging Company/Sawmill Wants Me To Sell My Timber, Should I?

That depends on many factors. Consulting foresters work closely and cooperatively with many logging companies and sawmills. We have great respect for most, but it’s important to remember that their primary interest is profitability. As consulting foresters, our primary interest is serving your interests. We can help you obtain the greatest value for your timber, and plan for a harvest that will enhance the long-term health of your woodland.

Can An Indiana DNR Forester Help Me Sell My Timber?

No. Foresters who work for the DNR are legally prohibited from helping woodland owners in this way. A consulting forester can help you through every step of a sale.