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An Initial Visit to the Yellowwood Lake Watershed Forest

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Arnold, Gwen; Bauer, Jacqui; Fischer, Burnell; Fleischman, Forrest; Midgley, Meghan; Mincey, Sarah; Priebe, Monica Paulson; Souza, Kennedy; Tucker, Catherine; Villamayor-Tomas, Sergio
Date: 2008
Agency: International Forestry Resources and Institutions, Research Program, Bloomington, IN
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9363
Sector: Forestry
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: North America
Subject(s): forests
community participation
water resources
resource management
Abstract: "In this report, we present the results of the first visit of the Bloomington, Indiana, collaborating research center to the forest delineated by the Yellowwood Lake Watershed. Yellowwood Lake Watershed covers 4,410 acres in Brown County, Indiana, approximately 10 miles from Bloomington and 50 miles from the state capital, Indianapolis. Eighty percent of the watershed is owned by the State of Indiana and managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry as part of the Yellowwood State Forest. The remaining land is owned by 55 different private landowners. The present pattern of land ownership dates back to the 1930s, when the U.S. government bought up a large quantity of degraded, poor-quality farmland in the region in an effort to resettle farmers in areas where their efforts would be more profitable. The federal government allowed land in the watershed to return to forest because it was a more economically beneficial land use. Due to its proximity to population centers and the scenic beauty of rolling hills surrounding a man-made lake, Yellowwood Lake Watershed is a major recreational asset. Controversy over land uses on public lands in the watershed, including timber harvesting and road modification has existed for several decades. Past IFRI studies undertaken by the Bloomington collaborating research center have focused on relatively small forests owned by community entities. Because it covers a larger area, and because it primarily consists of land managed by a government forestry agency, the Yellowwood Lake Watershed study provides researchers the opportunity to address some questions that have not been asked in previous IFRI studies in the United States. We organize this study around the following questions: What are the current social and biophysical conditions in the forest?; How have conditions been influenced by policies and activities of users?; How can multiple stakeholders and interest groups collaborate in the governance of forests under state ownership?; Has the impact of the Planning Group supported improved conservation?; What challenges and opportunities exist for the long-term sustainability of both the Planning Group and the forest itself? The next section of this report outlines in more detail the theoretical framework that underlies our research. The third section describes our research methodology. The fourth section reports the results and analysis of our forest mensuration. In the fifth section we discuss the institutions that currently exist in the watershed, and analyze how the collaborative process functions in the management of the watershed. Finally, the sixth section evaluates the opportunities and challenges that the forest and the collaborative group may face in coming years and suggest directions for future research."

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