The conservation department is asking some questions about Missouri’s forests that will be answered for our grandchildren and great grandchildren. Some preliminary information has been revealed, though.
Twenty years ago the department launched a 100-year-long study of forest management. Every 15 years the department will allow professional loggers to work on parts of 2300 acres in Reynolds, Shannon, and Carter Counties.
Loggers clear cut one segment, selectively harvest trees in the second segment, and leave a third segment untouched. The first cutting was in 19-96. Bids are being taken for the second round of managed cutting in 20-11.
The coordinator of the Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem project, David Gwaze says the department has learned clear cutting opens an area for some new bird species while other species head for more covered areas. He says mammals and reptiles don’t seem to be affected.
He’d like to be around at the end of this century to see the final results. But he knows some meaty information has come to light already. A study of the areas involved in 1996 indicates some new species of birds move into clear-cut areas while birds that had been in the area head for areas with better cover. He says it appears mammals and reptiles are not affected by clear cutting or limited harvesting.
Another thing found so far—red oaks in uncut areas are in declining shape and are being replaced by longer-lived species such as white oak or short-leafed pine, indicating proper forest management will help retain forest diversity