Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project: An Overview from Birth to Adolescence

by

Rochelle B. Renken

Research Science Field Chief, Missouri Department of Conservation, 2901 W. Truman Blvd. Jefferson City, Missouri 65109-1129. To contact, call 573-522-4115 x3345 or email: Rochelle.Renken@mdc.mo.gov

Abstract – The Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project (MOFEP) is a long-term, landscape-scale experiment examining the influence three forest management strategies upon various components of the oak-hickory forests in southern Missouri. The experiment was designed to understand how forest management systems - a planned series of treatments for tending and regenerating the forest - as applied by the Missouri Department of Conservation, affect oak-hickory ecosystem components, such as forest interior songbirds, ground flora, overstory trees, forest floor invertebrates, to name a few. The three forest management systems (treatments) under study are even-aged, uneven-aged, and no-harvest management. Another important aspect of MOFEP is that 2-5 years of pre-treatment data were collected before treatments were first applied to the 9 study sites in 1996.
The MOFEP was conceived in 1989 and developed at a time when the Missouri Department of Conservation (Department) and other forest management agencies were under social and cultural pressure for their forest management practices. The formation of MOFEP was in part a response to this pressure and benefited from a willingness of the Department to engage in a large, long-term experiment, as well as devote significant resources to its start and continuance. The result of all the planning and effort was a landscape-scale, replicated experiment that has changed paradigms of forest management and provided information that helped guide the Department's forest management since the first harvest entry in the 100+ year experiment.