In A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold wrote, “To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.” Missouri’s wild places are blessed with an abundance of cogs and wheels. Nearly 80 species of mammals, 350 species of birds, 100 species of reptiles and amphibians, 200 species of fish, tens of thousands of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates, and 2,800 species of plants rely on Missouri’s habitats for part of their life cycle.
Managing each of these species individually would be impossible. Instead, the best approach is to divide groups of plants and animals into the habitats where they are found and then protect, enhance, and restore those habitats.
The Conservation Department’s Comprehensive Conservation Strategy is the blueprint we use to do this. It identifies the Show-Me State’s best locations for fish, forest, and wildlife conservation and offers science-based guidelines for managing the habitats those locations contain. Because 93 percent of Missouri is in private ownership, a key part of the plan is working with partner agencies and private landowners to accomplish conservation goals.
To see how the Comprehensive Conservation Strategy is being put into practice, take a look at Caring for Missouri’s Best Wild Places. This article showcases a few examples of how focusing conservation efforts on where they will do the most good will help ensure Missouri’s full array of cogs and wheels will be around for future Missourians to enjoy.
Robert L. Ziehmer, director
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler