The June 27 issue of Indiana Agrinews carried an article on a recent USDA report compiled by 38 scientists for use by water and land managers.
The report indicates that for at least the next 25 years, climate change will increase the risk of crop failures, contribute to depletion of the nation's water resources, and accelerate outbreaks of invasive plant species and insects.
This news immediately brings to mind the negative impact on food crops, but anyone involved in Indiana's forestry must focus on invasive plant species.
A number of these, autumn olive, Asian honeysuckle, garlic mustard, and multiflora rose, are rapidly taking over woodland floors. These alien, invasive plants prevent regeneration of the desirable and valuable tree species: oak, cherry, walnut, hard maple, poplar and others.
The Sycamore Trails Forestry Committee has spawned a new group, the Invasives Plants Committee, to attack the rapidly growing problem.
A well-attended workshop was recently held by the group on the Pfizer property in Vigo County to educate woodland owners and demonstrate control and elimination techniques. The committee meets monthly in Greencastle.
Sycamore Trails will soon be publishing its Area Plan for 2009-13, with goals set forth to tackle this problem along with many more. The Area Plan is based on input from the residents of the nine-county Council area: Clay, Fountain, Montgomery, Owen, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo.
The plan will reflect the area's wishes in the matters of land conservation, land management, water management, and other issues dealing with climate change, alternative energy, and more. Anyone with an active interest in these areas, or even new ones, is invited to get involved with the council.
Sycamore Trails Resource and Development Council is an all-volunteer 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization funded by private and corporate donations, and grants. It may be contacted at (765) 653-9785, or at www.sycamoretrails.org