Forestry in the Show-Me State
Photo: Stegall Mountain Conservation Area in Peck Ranch Conservation Area, which consists of 23,763 acres of forested hills and hollows
A waltz, a mule, a president, and the Arch. That’s Missouri to most people in the United States. But the Show-Me State has something more that makes it great – it has forests. Missouri is one of America’s great forested states, ranking seventh of the 20 northeastern states in the amount of forest land.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) protects and manages the state’s forest, fish, and wildlife resources. With over 1,300 employees, MDC brings together foresters, wildlife biologists, researchers, fisheries biologists, and conservation enforcement agents under one umbrella. Under the direction of the State Forester, the Forestry Division delivers a variety of programs to support the 15.4 million acres of forest in Missouri, including 450,000 acres of state-owned land. With 83 percent of Missouri’s woods in private ownership, outreach to landowners is a key role for the division. Efforts include the development of forest management plans and assistance for timber sales.
The Forestry Division also works with the wood products industry, providing training, supporting best practices, and recognizing efforts to sustain forest habitat. Fire suppression is also a critical function of the division, which responds to wildfires locally and nationally and offers training and support to local fire departments. In addition, the Division supports tree management and care in communities and urban areas, monitors forest health threats, and operates a seedling tree nursery that provided 2.8 million seedlings in 2014. MDC’s Forestry Division’s mission is to protect and manage the forests of the state for long term sustainability and for the use and enjoyment of the people. The Division works for trees, because Trees Work!