Magazine article American Forests

MOFEP: Scoping the Forests of the Future

Magazine article American Forests

MOFEP: Scoping the Forests of the Future

Article excerpt

If long-term ecosystem management is a goal for the future, it will need long-term research to back it up. To do that, forest and wildlife managers must set aside land, have budgetary support, and have plenty of researchers available--all with long-term commitment.

A promising effort for joining these needs was initiated in 1990 by Missouri's Department of Conservation in cooperation with the University of Missouri's School of Natural Resources. Working under the acronym MOFEP (Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project), the two groups have as their goal applying long-term ecosystem research to 9,200 acres of relatively mature second-growth Ozark forestland.

Three timber-management strategies will be applied: even-aged, which means clearcutting; uneven-aged, or selective harvesting from trees of all age groups; and no harvesting at all. These strategies will be studied for up to 100 years--the average rotation period for Ozark forest growth. And each will be replicated on three separate pieces of land ranging in size from 657 to 1,302 acres. Of the nine study plots, the six designated for harvesting will be kept undisturbed until September '96 so that pre-harvest biological studies can be conducted.

These studies include just about anything that will provide ongoing measurements of biological diversity. Among them: trees and their growth rates, all other plants by species, mammals, interior woodland songbirds, insect life from soil to tree-tops all reptiles and amphibians, and nonliving factors. …

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