JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – If you own or manage forest land, you might want to take a look at the newly created, voluntary forest-management guidelines being developed in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).
MDC is asking for comments about the guidelines from anyone with an interest in Missouri’s public and private forests. These guidelines are strictly voluntary but are designed to assist private land owners in managing their forest resources.
“We want these guidelines to be understandable and practical for anyone to use,” says MDC Resource Forester Mike Bill. “To achieve that, we want everyone with an interest in management of Missouri’s forest to be able to read the guidelines and tell us what they think about them.”
A draft version of the Missouri Forest Management Guidelines is online for public comment at mdc.mo.gov/node/23881 from Sept. 15 through Nov. 15.
Bill helped coordinate development of the guidelines, a process that took approximately 18 months. Contributors included public and private foresters, fish and wildlife biologists, botanists, landowners and representatives of Missouri’s forest products industry. This group was made-up of 30 representatives from 16 organizations.
The guidelines provide advice on how to carefully manage forest resources to protect and enhance soil and water quality, visual quality, wildlife habitat, rare plants and animals, historical and cultural resources, and forest health. The document also outlines why a well-managed forest is important to all these resource elements.
“It’s our job to do everything we can to ensure that future generations of Missourians have the same or better forests than we have today,” says Bill. “You can’t do that without science-based management, and you can’t do it without active citizen support and landowner participation. More than 80 percent of Missouri’s forest acreage is privately owned. It is absolutely critical that we engage landowners and the people who work and play on private forest land.”
More information about Missouri forests and forest management is available at mdc.mo.gov/your-property.