Healthy Forests

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From Missouri Conservationist: Dec 2007

Our Glorious Forests

Angeline CA

  • Size: 39,245 acres
  • Location: Shannon County
  • Highlights: Rugged forest and old fields with a hiking trail and 25 miles of field roads open to horseback riders. It also offers access to the Jacks Fork and Current rivers.
  • Find more info: Call (573) 226-3616 or visit our online atlas, keyword "Angeline".

The scent of holiday greenery brings to mind Missouri’s only native pine—the shortleaf. Although this tall, sparsely limbed conifer isn’t Christmas-tree material, it fueled Missouri’s lumber boom. As a result, only 500,000 of the state’s original 6.1 million acres remain. When the last large tracts fell in the 1940s, pine-dependent birds such as the brown-headed nuthatch, Bachman’s sparrow and the red-cockaded woodpecker retreated to shortleaf pine forests in other states. To restore some of our pine forests’ former glory, the Department is using selective harvest and prescribed fire, especially on conservation areas such as the Angeline. Eventually, the Angeline’s original oak/pine community will show greater species diversity from ground to canopy. Given enough time and space, restoration efforts could produce a kind of conservation miracle—the return of the brown-headed nuthatch, Bachman’s sparrow and the red-cockaded woodpecker. That’s a gift future Missourians will celebrate, regardless of the season.

Beauty of Clearcuts

New growth warms upland wildlife with winter cover.

Although it takes several years for the beauty of clearcutting to appear to most humans, it becomes apparent to upland birds as soon as the mercury dips. Quail and other upland wildlife find warm winter cover in recently clearcut forests. Ugly to most people, especially in the short term, clearcutting can play a useful role in sustainable forest management. It removes the canopy, providing sunlight to young seedlings struggling to grow. Find more info on sustainable forest management online.

We All Live in a Forest

Make your Christmas tree last the whole season.

“You can keep a Christmas tree fresh for a month, no problem,” said former Department of Conservation forester Clell Solomon, who grows and sells Christmas trees in Armstrong. His advice for choosing and caring for your tree is simple—make sure it’s fresh, choose the right size for your space and keep it moist in a water-holding stand. Whether you want a Scotch pine or a spruce, test the needles for freshness. If they fall like rain when you shake the tree, it’s dry. Clell warns against “doctoring” stand water with aspirin or commercial treatments. “The best thing for your Christmas tree is plain water,” he says. Thanksgiving weekend is a popular time to shop for Christmas trees. To find a Missouri grower near you, see the links listed below.

This Issue's Staff

Editor in Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Arleasha Mays
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Ruby
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler