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Title: Evaluating sustainability: a method for assessing vegetation change in southern Missouri, U.S.A.: 1820-2003
Author: Moser, W. Keith; Hansen, Mark H.; Hatfield, Mark A.; Nigh, Timothy A.
Publication: In: Lafortezza, R.; Sanesi, G., eds. Patterns and processes in forest landscapes. Consequences of human management. Proceedings of the 4th meeting of IUFRO working party 8.01.03; 2006, September 26-29; Locorotondo, Bari, Italy. Accademia Italiana di Scienze Forestali. 399-408.
Key Words: public land survey (U.S.A.), pre-European settlement landscape, national forst inventory, restoration
Abstract: The General Land Office of the United States of America surveyed the state of Missouri during the first half of the 1800s. Frequently relying on witness trees to mark corners of surveyed units, surveyors also recorded other trees situated on or near the survey lines. Using plot-level data from inventories conducted by the U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Forest Inventory and Analysis program from 1999 - 2003, we examined the difference in forest cover type, stand structure, and composition between the 19th century inventory and the latest data. Focusing on that part of the Survey situated near the Current River in south-central Missouri, we estimated historic forest species composition and structure and compared them to present-day estimates. A "conversion suitability index," a categorical table that estimated the level of effort required to maintain a forest type or convert it to some other type was developed. In this study, we applied this conversion matrix to the 19th century and 21st century forest types and estimated the level of effort it would require to restore a landscape to a pre-European settlement forested condition.
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