Healthy Forests

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Our Glorious Forests

LaBarque Creek Watershed

  • Size: 13 square miles
  • Location: Jefferson County near St. Louis
  • Importance: Watershed of exceptionally high quality and diversity; forest, woodland and glade habitats support songbirds and rare plants and animals; serves as a prime conservation opportunity area
  • To help preserve LaBarque Creek: E-mail or call Tracy Boaz at Tracy.Boaz@mdc.mo.gov or (314) 301-1506, ext. 2264.

One of the most vital services our glorious forests provide is clean water. Without forests, streams become simple ditches, unable to clean and cool water or slow its flow. The lushly forested LaBarque Creek watershed near St. Louis is a model of watershed function. Its 13 square miles of deep, moist canyons conduct more than six miles of LaBarque Creek, which supports 42 species of fish. Here, many habitat-specific plants thrive, and neotropical migratory birds breed. How does LaBarque resist urban development? Conservation-oriented landowners are the key. Watershed planning efforts, initiated by the Department in cooperation with Jefferson County government, local landowners and many other stakeholders, have yielded a watershed plan, a growing landowner stewardship committee and a Stream Team. These groups have slated several work and cultural events for 2007 and beyond.

MOFEP Update

Timber harvesting compatible with songbird conservation.

Recent Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project findings should make both forest owners and bird lovers happy. Research from this 100-year study, begun in 1990, on the impact of various management plans on neotropical migrants indicates that timber harvesting is compatible with migratory songbird conservation. “Our understanding of the effects of management prescriptions will grow as we continue to study them,” said David Gwaze, MOFEP’s coordinator. For more information, e-mail david.gwaze@mdc.mo.gov, or visit them online.

We All Live in a Forest

Growing business: “sinking”carbon

According to scientists, the rise in atmospheric carbon is to blame for global warming. Because the process of photosynthesis captures this heat-trapping gas, forests are among the best carbon “sinks” on the planet–an acre of well-managed forest sequesters about 4 metric tons of carbon annually. After the 1997 Kyoto Protocol called for industrialized nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions, carbon-credit markets emerged, allowing carbon-emitting businesses to buy credits from carbon-sinkers–privately owned forests and prairies, for example. Currently carbon credits sell for $3.40 per metric ton on the voluntary Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). They go for around $30 per metric ton on the international, government- sanctioned European market (EU ETS). Well-managed private forests might deliver benefits globally, as well as locally.

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