Atterbury-Muscatatuck Forestry Program


Camp Atterbury’s forestry program offers scientific advice on the management of our forest resources.


The program’s goals are:

-- Maintain the forest cover required for military training.

-- Comply with the Endangered Species Act by protecting and enhancing habitat for the federally listed Indiana bat.

-- Maintain ecosystem viability.

-- Provide for the production of commercial forest products.


Major forest types


-- Bottomland hardwood forests contain moderately-drained soils that are inundated seasonally. This forest type tends to support a well-developed canopy layer, with a sparser understory, and is composed of the following species: red maple, river birch, shellbark hickory, button bush, green ash, sweetgum, blackgum, American sycamore, eastern cottonwood, swamp white oak, swamp chestnut oak, pin oak, and American elm.


--Upland Forests consist of well-developed and moderately diverse overstory and understory layers. On drier sites, oak and hickory predominate, including such species as pignut hickory, red hickory, shagbark hickory, white oak, scarlet oak, chestnut oak, and black oak. More mesic sites support overstory populations of sugar maple, American beech, white ash, yellow poplar, northern red oak, and basswood.


Timber Management

Forest management enhances the CAIN military mission by providing a healthy training area over the long term. Practices such as forest product sales, timber stand improvement activities, managing forest access roads, encouraging and protecting regeneration, providing forestry support for natural resource surveys and protecting against fire, insects, and disease sustain the forested environment.

Timber harvest activities involve coordination with a number of state and federal agencies to ensure CAIN's compliance with all state and federal regulations. The primary driving force influencing the timber harvest program at CAIN are the restrictions related to maintaining adequate summer maternity and roosting habitat for the federally endangered Indiana bat. The forestry program adheres to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service - Bloomington Field Office Indiana Bat Management Guidelines. Precautions are taken to avoid or minimize operations during wet weather to minimize damage to the timber stands. To comply with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the timber management program limits timber harvesting to those months outside of the late spring/early summer breeding seasons of migratory birds.


Urban Forestry

There has been an increased demand and interest in establishing urban forestry areas on the CAIN property. Planting trees in the urbanized areas of the installation provides shade to benefit troops, energy usage relief, and aesthetics. In 2006, over 100 trees were planted and work continues to establish urban forestry areas. Many obstacles interfere with urban forestry action. There is a limited availability of funding, the ground can have poor, compacted soils, and multiple underground utilities can make planting difficult.


Indiana Big Tree Register

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Forestry publishes the Indiana Big Tree Register, a list of the largest known specieman of each native tree species in the state on a five-year cycle. Camp Atterbury is proud to host the winning speciment for the Chestnut Oak, Quercus prinus. As of the 2015 Big Tree Register, this impressive 138' tall tree had a circumference of 132" at 4 1/2' above the ground.