Governor Eric J. Holcomb, in his 2020 State of the State Address, charged the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) with planting 1 million trees during the next five years.
Thanks to the efforts of the DNR Division of Forestry and its partners, that once-lofty goal is well within sight. This spring, 253,400 seedlings were planted on DNR properties, bringing the four-year planting total to 964,900.
“For more than one hundred years, Indiana has worked continuously to grow the state’s forested land to build diverse ecosystems and preserve forests for future generations,” said Dan Bortner, DNR director. “Under Governor Holcomb’s leadership and with the help of our partners, we’ve planted historic numbers of new trees across the state, and we look forward to officially meeting the governor’s bold goal next year.”
The plantings of oak, black walnut and hickory, species that are in decline in Indiana, have been done throughout the state, primarily on state forests, as well as at Prophetstown and Summit Lake state parks, Hovey Lake Fish & Wildlife Area, Bluffs of Beaver Bend Nature Preserve, and Spring Creek Seeps Natural Area.
As the seedlings grow, they create shrub/tree habitat for wildlife species that require early successional habit, the majority of which are in decline, and form a natural carbon storage solution.
Partners in the effort include Clif Bar, Duke Energy, the Hardwood Forestry Fund, Huston Solar, and the White Oak Institute. Each spring and fall, the Natural Resources Foundation hosts corporate partners across state properties to plant trees through its Indiana Tree Project.
For more details on this initiative and how it works, see on.IN.gov/forestIN