An ancient, unglaciated landscape, the Ozarks is home to 407 species of global conservation significance with more than 160 species that are endemic, occurring nowhere else in the world. The beauty and mystery of the Missouri Ozarks draw millions of visitors from around the world.
The Ozarks are a geologically remarkable place and encompass an incredible variety of habitats from caves, springs, and fens to oak woodlands, savannas, and glades.
The Current River provides critical breeding habitat for migratory birds and shelters the best known populations of 25 globally significant species, including creatures of Missouri history and folklore like the 100-million-year-old Ozark hellbender salamander. This salamander species has survived several ice ages but may not survive the degradation of Ozark streams.
The Ozarks provides ample opportunity to become immersed in nature. Popular activities include hiking, rock climbing, camping, bird watching, kayaking, and fishing.
Conservation in the Ozarks is increasingly urgent as forests and rivers face mounting pressure from incompatible land use and damaging land management practices. Many of the best rivers in the region are threatened by pollution, run-off, and gravel mining in streambeds.
With a generous gift from Howard and Joyce Wood, the Conservancy is working with private landowners to promote sustainable forest management, which is critical to the health of neighboring rivers.
Controlled fire is an effective management tool used in the Ozarks. It benefits deep-rooted grasses and flowers by removing dead vegetation, encouraging new growth, and preventing the infiltration of brush and non-native plants.
A team of Conservancy scientists conducted intensive vegetation sampling on the 5,600-acre Chilton Creek Preserve in the Ozarks. This effort is part of one of the nation's most significant long-term studies on the management of woodland ecosystems, and will shape future forest management efforts in the region.
With diligence, sound science, and donor support, the Conservancy will help keep the waters clear and the woodlands vibrant in the Missouri Ozarks.