Open woodland forest habitat
Chilton Creek Open woodland forest habitat at Chilton Creek © Byron Jorjorian

Stories in Missouri

Sustainable Forestry Program

Working with landowners in the Ozarks

In the Missouri Ozarks, private landowners play a critical role in keeping woodlands and waters healthy. Here, the timber industry is critical to the Ozarks economy, locally providing jobs and globally providing high-quality wood products. However, land conversion, development, decreasing parcel size, pests and diminishing forest health can impact the long-term production of these woodlands.

A member of The Nature Conservancy’s fire team employs a prescribed burn, an important tool used in sustainable forest management.
Prescribed burns A member of The Nature Conservancy’s fire team ignites a prescribed burn. © Tom Fielden

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Teaming Up for Sustainable Forest Management

The Nature Conservancy is committed to supporting private land conservation in the Current River Basin. Over the past 5 years with the help of grant funding provided by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), TNC has been able to reach private landowners through a program with three primary components—encouraging better management through planning, outreach and education, and permanent land protection with conservation easements.

The USFS grant funding enabled TNC to provide forest management plans on over 5,000 acres of private land. Helping landowners establish a forest management plan enables them to connect with cost-share programs to implement the plan. It also supported more than a dozen workshops and farm tours, introducing landowners to management tools important for protecting the diverse rivers, streams, glades and woodlands in the Ozarks.

We convened partners including the Missouri Department of Conservation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and others to share technical expertise and guide landowners through the various cost-share programs available for conservation practices. Currently, work is ongoing to permanently protect an additional 774 acres in the Current River area, including one critically important piece of riverfront property on the Jacks Fork River.

Working with our public and private landowner partners, our goal is to ensure family farmers have the tools to grow healthy timber and manage their land in a way that preserves the diversity of the Current River area and keeps the water clean for the next generation.

Current River LIVING ST. LOUIS visits the Current River.