Martell Forest


Martell Forest​

Martell Forest was acquired to provide research and outdoor lab teaching opportunities close to the West Lafayette campus. It is named for Dr. Eldred R. “Shorty” Martell, who was head of Purdue's Department of Forestry and Conservation, now known as the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, from 1940 to 1957. It was originally called Shidler Forest after the family the land was acquired from. Throughout its history, the forest has been central to the education of hundreds of natural resource professionals as well as a center for diverse research activities.

Martell Forest is the site of the John S. Wright Forestry Center, a research , teaching and conference facility located at 1007 N 725 W, West Lafayette, Indiana.​​​​

Property Information

Oak/hickory cover the slopes and uplands on this heavily hills and ravine property. 2.6 miles of stream also provide bottomland and mesic species like sycamore/cottonwood and black walnut. Located in Central Till Plain.

  • Acquisition date: 1958 (additional tracts acquired up to 2008
  • Total acres: 477
  • 70% forested
  • 21% plantations
  • 12 acres of prairie
  • 2.4 acres of open water
  • 2.6 miles of stream
  • 4.5 miles of road

Management Plan
  • Contact Manager


All researchers who want to conduct research at martell must have their project approved prior to starting. Please fill out FNR Property Request for approval

Current Research Activities

Extension: 45% of field extension events held on FNR property occur at Martell Forest (Extension Website)

Teaching: 22 class labs from seven departments utilize the property for teaching


Invasive Species Management

2010 invasive plant assessments indicated 144 acres requiring attention. High priority sections covered 60 acres. These areas had high density and large sized plants of bush honeysuckle, autumn olive, and eastern burning bush.

2020 assessment indicated 21 acres require follow up respraying or hand pulling and 9 acres indicating medium infestation. The work has been accomplished by staff, student interns, invasive plant workshops, and FNR class labs.

Van Camp Arboretum

Martell Forest is home to the John L. Van Camp Arboretum, a collection of 100 trees native to Indiana provided to the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources as a gift from the family of former faculty member John L. Van Camp.

2018-2020 Indian Creek Stabilization

Thanks to 2 IDNR Lake and River Enhancement grants totaling $108,000, Indian creek had a natural channel design construction project completed fall of 2019 near the Van Camp arboretum. The creek was threatening to wash out the access road into the property as well as damage to the pedestrian bridge over the creek. The project will protect the infrastructure and improve stream habitat.

Property Manager

Brian Beheler
Phone: 765-496-5015
Fax: 765-583-3512

Forestry and Natural Resources, 715 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061 USA, (765) 494-3590

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