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Missouri Distance to Edge of Forest

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Source: Missouri Dept. of Conservation and U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Missouri's Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy.

Source: Missouri Dept. of Conservation and U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Missouri’s Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy.

Development is occurring in and around protected lands. In previous posts I speculated that these effects might be magnified in Missouri due to the fragmented nature of Mark Twain National Forest. (The lead post in the series is here.) But just how fragmented are Missouri’s forests? Missouri’s Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy, published by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the U.S.D.A. Forest Service Northern Research Station, provides some answers.

The first map at right shows Missouri forestland by how far it is from the forest edge. Yellow is forest within 30 meters (32 yards) of the edge, light green is forest within 90 meters of the edge (98 yards, the length of a football field), and dark green is interior forest farther than 90 meters from the edge. The map shows that, as suspected, Missouri’s forests are very fragmented.

(Click on map for larger view.)

It is also possible to address this issue graphically. The first chart at right shows the percent of Missouri private forest landholdings by size of the tract. Green is the number of owners for each category and blue is the total area of the all the plots in a category.

Size of Landholdings ChartThe chart shows that more than 40% of owners have a tract of forest from 1-9 acres in size. One acre is smaller than a football field. Nine acres is a square 626 feet on a side. To have an interior point as much as 1 mile from all edges, a tract of forest would have to be more than 2,000 acres. But less than 10% of Missouri private forest land is even half that big.

(Click on chart for larger view.)

The land studied in the Forest Assessment includes both public and private forest landholdings in Missouri. As the second chart at right shows, the vast majority of Missouri forestland is in private hands – some 82%.

(Click on chart for larger view.)

Source: Missouri Dept. of Conservation and U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Missouri's Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy.

Source: Missouri Dept. of Conservation and U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Missouri’s Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy.

Source:

Missouri’s Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy, Missouri Department of Conservation and the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Northern Research Station, http://mdc.mo.gov/sites/default/files/resources/2010/08/9437_6407.pdf.

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