The Arkansas Field Office of The Nature Conservancy opened its doors in 1982. Through the past 20 years, the Conservancy's Arkansas Field Office has worked in tandem with private landowners, conservation groups and government agencies to facilitate the conservation of over 75 sites representing more than 250,000 acres of land in Arkansas.
The Arkansas Field Office has led the way in preserving large landscapes in Arkansas. The Big Woods of Arkansas represents one of the largest continuous corridors of bottomland hardwoods remaining in the Mississippi Delta. The Conservancy has helped to protect over 70,000 acres in the Big Woods, including important land acquisitions along the Cache River. In addition, the Conservancy has reforested more than 15,000 acres of bottomland hardwoods in the Arkansas Delta.
Conservancy staff members have also worked extensively in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma. This eight-million-acre mountain range is a center of endemism in North America. Conservancy scientists have participated in land inventories and strategic planning processes in the Ouachitas in order to find ways to help conserve this valuable resource.
The Arkansas/Oklahoma land exchange, introduced through legislation by Senator Dale Bumpers in 1995 and signed into law by President Clinton on November 12, 1996, transferred 185,000 acres of natural lands in the Ouachitas owned by Weyerhaeuser to the Ouachita National Forest and the Cossatot National Wildlife Refuge. Through an ecological assessment conducted by The Nature Conservancy's Arkansas Field Office, the Weyerhaeuser lands were found to contain over 127 sensitive species in the Ouachita Mountains.