Renaissance at Snake Ridge
the Department's foremost considerations is the rights of private landowners. Conservation success, after all, depends on them.
"Of about 14 million acres of forest in Missouri, 83 percent is privately held, and we're relying on private landowners to do the right thing," Brookshire said.
Timber production in Missouri generates $3 billion annually. However, timber production is only one of the program's facets, said Brookshire.
"The landowner can realize a whole set of benefits to that land and maintain it in a healthy and productive state for generations to come," Brookshire explained. "They can live on it, camp on it, provide clean water to the streams, hunt on it and still get economic returns."
Over the past decade, the Myers completed a timber plan on half of the property. They cleared diseased and undesirable trees, such as black oak, to foster the growth of commercially valuable red and white oak. As they cleared their timber, they left "den" trees to provide shelter for wildlife. They do not clear-cut, but maintain trees of various ages.
"It's like weeding the forest with a chainsaw," Dick said.
The Conservation Department can provide valuable assistance to landowners conducting a timber harvest. A conservation forester marks trees to be cut, calculates the board feet, requests bids from prospective buyers and presents bids to the landowners who then choose the cutter. To protect the forest resources and also the interests of the land-owner, the Department al-so specifies "Best Manage-met Practices (BMPs) for timber harvesting.
In the last 10 years, nearly 400,000 board feet of timber have been removed from the Myers's farm. Once an area is logged, the Myers lime and fertilize the skid tracks and seed the ground with clover and orchard grass. They've planted several thousand oak seedlings on the trails.
In addition, the Myers cleared red cedar from 27 acres. That has permitted warm season grasses to flourish, encouraging native plants inhabiting the glades to return. They also built six small ponds and planted food plots with common lespedeza, ladino clover, orchard grass and millet to provide food for deer and wild turkey.
To foster the growth of native plants, they eradicated fescue from certain pastures, using herbicide carefully to minimize the danger of run-off. Fescue grows in a dense mat, eliminating bare ground and crowding out native plants that are beneficial to wildlife. Its thick thatch is inhospitable to insects and prevents quail