A committee plans to study how the state manages its forests this summer. The idea came from a failed House motion by Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) that would have set up a task force to look at practices like logging and make recommendations to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Rae Schnapp is the conservation director with the Indiana Forest Alliance. She says she hopes this summer study committee will give the logging issue the time it deserves.
“How we manage them is really important because we don’t have that much public forest land,” she says.
Schnapp says the state’s few public forests should be preserved for wildlife and recreation, not logged for Indiana’s timber industry.
House Speaker Brian Bosma says he hopes the study renews trust in the DNR and confirms that its approach is the right one.
“I know there are those who think we should do no logging and that’s not the way to healthily manage our state forests. So hopefully the policy makers will hear both sides of the story and make some positive conclusions,” he says.
Representative Pierce says since his amendment failed, he's pleasantly surprised a summer study is taking up the issue. He says how useful this study will be all depends on how much time committee members take to gather the facts.
Pierce says he's seen some summer studies last half an hour and others that go on for multiple meetings and gather information from the field.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.