Healthy Forests

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From Missouri Conservationist: Jun 2009

Our Glorious Forests

Compton Hollow CA

  • Size: 840 acres
  • Location: In Webster County, about 20 miles east of Springfield and 9 miles west of Marshfield
  • Habitat types: Post-oak flatwoods
  • Facilities and features: 14-station archery field course and 5.5-mile multi-use trail
  • Find more info: visit our online atlas, keyword, "Compton".

June visitors to Compton Hollow Conservation Area will enjoy a rare opportunity to see how post-oak flatwoods respond to prescribed fire. A relatively uncommon type of hardwood forest, the post-oak flatwood grows on soil that is too poor and rocky to support much else. Managers burned the flatwoods area in March to help maintain the forest’s characteristic openness. “In June the post-oak flatwood will be bursting with new growth,” said area manager Frances Main. “It’s amazing how many seeds are hiding in the soil, just waiting for the right conditions to germinate.” Unusual in its ability to tolerate both drought and inundation, post-oak flatwoods contribute to Missouri’s high level of natural diversity. They support desertlike species, such as lizards, when it’s dry and wetlandlike species, such as frogs, when it’s wet. The area’s 5.5-mile multi-use trail edges the flatwoods, giving visitors a good view of the dramatic response to fire.

Livestock in Woodlands

Grazing your woods can hurt trees, wildlife and livestock.

If you value your family’s hardwood groves or woods, it’s best to keep livestock out of them. During the growing season, continuous grazing pressure can wipe out the woodland understory, opening fragile soils to erosion and exposing the roots of mature trees. Forage in woodlands might also be nutrient-poor or poisonous. Learn more about excluding livestock from your woods through the links listed below. If you need help fencing livestock, ask your local Department forester about cost-share programs.


From the Ozarks to your backyard barbecue grill

If you love the smell of burgers on the grill, salute the Ozarks. This forested Missouri region has been fueling America’s backyard barbecues since the early 20th century. Several Ozark-area producers, including Kingsford and Royal Oak, produce much of the charcoal used in the central United States. The Kingsford facility in Belle features a state-of-the-art manufacturing process that makes charcoal a truly “green” bioenergy. It turns wood waste into a premium product, while recovering heat to run the plant, saving millions of gallons of fuel oil. The Belle plant also provides work for hundreds of people in Maries, Gasconade, Osage and Phelps counties. Next time you barbecue, remember that Missouri’s healthy forests and sustainable forest products enrich our lives, wherever we live.

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
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler