How much of Indiana is forestland? Where is it located?

Approximately 20 percent of Indiana is forested. Of Indiana’s nearly 23 million acres, 4.5 million are forestland. Most forests are located in the southern half of the state. The satellite map (Map 1) shows the distribution of forest and nonforestland. This map, along with Map 2, provides a clearer picture of the volume and location of forestland within the state. Map 1, Indiana Forests.

Map 2, Indiana Forestlands by County.

It is important to note the location of the Northern, Upland Flats, Knobs, and Lower Wabash survey units, as they are referenced throughout this report. As previously noted, analyzing survey units (as opposed to counties) increases statistical reliability.

The Northern Unit, the largest unit, comprises approximately 60 percent of the state. This section of Indiana, part of the nation’s “bread-basket,” has the lowest percentage (less than 10 percent) of forestland in the state (Figure 1). The Northern Unit extends from Lake Michigan and the Michigan border south to Indianapolis and Richmond before dipping further south to Columbus (Ind.). Figure 1, Northern - Land Use, 1998.
Figure 1
Figure 2, Upland Flats - Land Use, 1998.
Figure 2
The Upland Flats Unit, located in the southeast corner of the state, has the second highest concentration of forestland (Figure 2). Over one-third of the area is forested. The unit includes the towns of Madison, Versailles, North Vernon, and Lawrenceburg.

The Knobs Unit, in south-central Indiana, has the state’s highest concentration of forestland (Figure 3). This unit has large, continuous tracts of forests that provide some of the best woodland habitat. This land also filters and cleans much of the state’s water and air, while providing a sustainable resource for forest products. The Knobs Unit includes the towns of Bloomington, New Albany, Tell City, and Seymour.

Figure 3, Knobs - Land Use, 1998.
Figure 3
Figure 4, Lower Wabash - Land Use, 1998.
Figure 4
The Lower Wabash Unit, in the southwestern part of Indiana, is anchored by Evansville to the south, Terre Haute to the north, and Vincennes in the middle. The area has pockets of both dense and sparse forestland (Figure 4).

Forestland increases from the predominantly agricultural flat land in the north, along the Michigan border, southward to the hills of the Ohio River Valley. Due to glacial forces, Indiana’s northern sections have rich soil—perfect for agriculture. As a result, most of the forests are concentrated on the state’s southern hills and ravines. In comparison with other states, Indiana forest soils are richer than most, despite their hilly terrain. This rich soil, coupled with good growing conditions, results in Indiana’s hardwood trees being among the best in the world!

Return to Table of Contents | Return to Previous Section | Continue To Next Section