Table 2. Characteristics of five forest communities in southern Indiana.

Maple Oak Box Elder Twin Oaks Tulip Poplar
Origin 1976 Late 1960s to early 1970s 1983 1971 1969
Area (acre/ha) 304/123 450/182 109/44 140/57 1100/445
Forested (acre/ha) 200/81
(66% of area)
110/45
(25% of area)
90/36
(83% of area)
120/49
(86% of area)
590/239
(54% of area)
Timber harvest No Yes No No Yes
Founding members About 10 2 About 20 2 2
Group size change Slowly increasing up to 40 people; decline after fire in 1980; 23 members today First increasing up to 40 people; decrease after conflicts; about 10 people today Members: stable
Festival visitors: increasing (hundreds)
Two friends were included very early, now only one member left Selling of 1-acre lots to private individuals; 527 permanent adult residents today
Group heterogeneity Low First high, today low Low Low High
Motivation to start community Community life; back-to-the-land Community life; securing gathering space Spiritual refuge; securing gathering space Privacy in nature Privacy; residential development; recreation
Governance All members and council All members Elder council All members Board of nine directors
Decision making First consensus, later majority rule Majority rule First consensus, later majority rule Consensus rule Majority rule
Internal social disturbances Tree cutting;
change of generations
Tree cutting;
leadership/membership
Tree cutting;
leadership
Moving away and death of members Tree cutting;
change of generations
External social disturbances Poaching;
hostility from neighbors
Poaching;
trespassing;
conflict with neighbors
Trespassing;
hostility from neighbors
Trespassing;
poaching
Trespassing;
poaching
Natural disturbances Fire in 1980 None None None Lake-level differences;
flood in 2008;
erosion at lakes/in forests