President’s Letter

Overwhelming Property Management

As I sip my coffee and look out at my woods behind the house, the woods appear simple, unchanged and comforting, but I know there is work to be done. I was reminded of my personal limitations to manage my forest while reading an article titled Introduced Species We Love to Hunt in the February 2018 American Hunter magazine. The article posed the question “What should be here in our forests and fields, and what shouldn’t?” The article discussed some native species that have expanded their historical range into new parts of North America, creating hunting opportunities, but also ecological problems. Species such as the Red Fox, Coyote and White-tailed deer fit this category for parts of the United States. Then they mentioned some introduced non-native species that some hunters like, but cause major ecological damage like wild pigs.

The author of this article mentioned a few of the ecological problems caused by the expansion and introduction of these species, but was really focused on the benefit to hunters with increased opportunities for hunting and trapping. I personally would have been more concerned with the ecological problems created, but the question of “what should be here in our forests and fields, and what shouldn’t” is a good question. But it is a question that can overwhelm you to the point of doing nothing if you think about it too much. We have changed the forest landscape in Indiana and it will not go back to what it was, but we can take care of what we have and limit the problems we cause. I was encouraged by a statement sent to me from Brian MacGowan, Extension Wildlife Specialist and Editor for the Woodland Steward. “Stories (in the Woodland Steward) focus on forest management, how-to articles, wildlife management, invasive species control, insect pests and diseases, historical or human-interest pieces, forest policy, forest economics, and more. Based on a survey from 2011, 54 percent of subscribers regularly utilize information from the Woodland Steward. In addition, 51 percent have implemented at least one practice they read about in the Woodland Steward, potentially impacting an estimated 1.2 million acres of forestland.”

Impacting 1.2 million acres. That is encouraging. Sometimes it can be difficult to decide on a project to tackle in your woods. My advice is to enjoy your woods, recognize that you can’t fix everything in your woods at one time, or get rid of all the invasive plants, but you can make it better, keep it nice and benefit the plants and animals that call your woods home.

The Woodland Steward is mailed 3 times a year to woodland owners in Indiana. We would appreciate your support and help to pay for the cost of printing and mailing the newsletter. There is a donation envelope included with this issue of the Woodland Steward Newsletter.

Thank you for all you do to help protect and manage the forests of Indiana.