The Natural Resources Commission provides a forum for the resolution of disputes between landowners and persons who harvest timber. The Natural Resources Commission may also be called upon to resolve disputes that arise relative to timber licensing or certification of classified forests.
Timber buyers are required to be licensed in Indiana. The DNR Division of Forestry is the licensing agency for timber buyers, as well as the agency that administers the classified forests program.
The DNR Division of Forestry maintains a substantial website to address its diverse functions. Information is provided concerning the licensing of timber buyers, technical assistance to landowners, purchasing tree seedlings, urban forestry, the management of state forests, and other topics.
Responsibilities for the administration of timber management and sales are assigned by the Indiana General Assembly in statutes and implemented largely through rules. The Natural Resources Commission adopts permanent rules, and the DNR Director adopts temporary (or emergency) rules. Rules have the force and effect of law.
- Timber Buyers: Licensing of timber buyers and their agents is required in statutes found at IC 36.5. An important element of this program is that timber buyers must be bonded. Rules to assist in the administration of these statutes are set forth at 312 IAC 14.
- Timber Grower Complaints: A timber grower who has had trees wrongfully removed can bring an action for recovery, including the possibility of triple damages for loss of the trees, before the Natural Resources Commission. The action can be pursued regardless of whether the person cutting timber was a licensed timber buyer. The remedy is outlined in the Timber Buyers Act, most notably at IC 25-36.5-1-3.2. Rules to assist in the administration of this remedy are set forth at 312 IAC 14-6.
- Classified Forests: The DNR Division of Forestry administers the classified forestry program established at IC 6-1.1-6. Classified forests approved after June 30, 1990 must comply with basic management standards described by rule at 312 IAC 15.