15-year program to study prescribed burning and planned grazing at Missouri Department of Conservation

Introduction by Kevin Watt. Story by Greg Horner.

As part of our Profiles in Land and Management series, this month we share the impressive story of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and its 15-year program to study and use prescribed burning and planned grazing to regenerate grassland habitats across 18 sites in the state.

Beginning in 2004, the MDC began testing prescribed burning as a tool to manage 18 grassland conservation areas where a lack of wildlife/livestock grazing and natural wildfire had led to decadent vegetation growth choking out new plants and diminishing ecosystem function. As the pilot program saw success, the MDC also incorporated high-density planned livestock grazing to emulate the historic impact of elk and bison.

Over the last 15 years, the MDC’s botanists have observed substantial improvements on the sites receiving these treatments including improved bird nesting and brooding habitat, increased plant diversity and native grasses, and greater cost-efficiency for land management activities.

To read more of this profile, please click here.​

This month we’d also like to highlight an excellent podcast interview featuring our collaborator on the Profiles in Land and Management, Greg Horner. He was interviewed on the Quivira Coalition’s podcast, Down to Earth, and discussed many of the profiles on public lands.

To listen to the podcast, please click here.