Jerktail Mountain: Pioneer Forest and Ozark National Scenic Riverways


Selective timber harvesting on Pioneer Forest land began in spring 2014. A prescribed burn was completed in March 2015. 

Project Documents

L-A-D  Foundation’s Pioneer Forest and the National Park Service’s Ozark National Scenic Riverways are working together to enhance the adaptive capacity of Ozark woodland and glade ecosystems.

contact: Leslie Brandt

At 140,000 acres, the L-A-D Foundation’s Pioneer Forest is Missouri’s largest private land ownership. Since the early 1950s, this forest has employed a conservative, uneven-aged management method known as single-tree selection harvesting.  Pioneer’s decades-long research of this successful method strongly indicates a truly sustainable forest management practice.  Recognizing the importance of fire in managing glade ecosystems and shortleaf pine woodlands, foresters have developed fire prescriptions to reduce woody species encroachment, restore and maintain the targeted ecosystem, and enhance adaptive capacity to better cope with a range of future climates.           

Ozark National Scenic Riverways was established as a unit of the national park system by the U.S. Congress in 1964 to conserve and interpret the scenic, natural, scientific, ecological, and historic values and resources within the National Riverways, and to provide for public outdoor recreational use and enjoyment of those resources. The National Riverways include portions of the Current and Jacks Fork rivers, providing 134 miles of clear, free-flowing, spring-fed waterways.  The overarching goal of the fire management program in the Riverways is to restore and maintain fire-dependent natural communities such as glades and woodlands.                                                                      

Project Location and Partners   

Jerktail Viscinity Map

This project is located on a 1,836 acre tract within the Current River Hills subsection of the Missouri Ozark Highlands in south central Missouri about 9 miles northeast of Eminence. The rugged terrain of the Current River Hills features extensive forest and woodlands with high ridges dominated by shortleaf pine and oak with scattered igneous and dolomite glades. The L-A-D Foundation and National Park Service each own portions of the Jerktail Mountain management area, and jointly manage and monitor the area. This project is supported in part by the Wildlife Conservation Society's Climate Adaptation Fund



Climate Change and Jerktail Mountain                                                 

According to the majority of climate models and a recently completed vulnerability assessment for the central hardwoods region, these climate change impacts are expected in the Missouri Ozarks region by the end of the century:

  • Mean annual temperature increases from 2 °F to 7 °F.
  • Increased precipitation in winter and spring and potential declines in summer
  • Increased frequency and severity of wildfire.

These climatic changes will impact local ecosystems on Jerktail Mountain. In woodlands, shortleaf pine  and post oak are projected to benefit from a warmer climate.  Other species like black and scarlet oak are projected to be negatively affected by drier summers. Woodlands are adapted to frequent, low-intensity fires, but could be negatively impacted if fires become too severe.  In glades, most species are adapted to the hot, dry conditions that are expected to become more common. However, some species with extremely narrow soil or moisture requirements could be vulnerable. Eastern redcedar encroachment is a major issue on this site, and it will likely expand in the future due to other factors besides climate change.

Adaptation Actions

Staff from the Pioneer Forest and Ozark National Scenic Riverways used Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change Tools and Approaches for Land Managers to identify actions to enhance the adaptive capacity of woodland and glade ecosystems. Below are examples of adaptation approaches and tactics planned for the site. 

table of adaptation actions for Jerktail Mountain

Current Project Status

Selective timber harvesting has been initiated in the woodlands on the Pioneer Forest portion of the management area.  Invasive species control and initial baseline monitoring of herbaceous flora is planned for summer 2014. A prescribed burn was completed in March 2015. 

2014 preburn data versus 2015 post-burn data showed the average species richness of native herbaceous plants (mainly wildflowers and grasses) increased by 37% on 2 glade monitoring plots and by 137% on 2 woodland monitoring plots. This result surpassd the goal to obtain at least a 20% increase in the average number of native herbaceous species per quadrat in the glade and woodland plots by the second year following the second burn. 

This project was featured in the Salem News

Glade with encroaching redcedar







Jerktail Mountain glade with encroaching redcedar. 





Woodland with selective thinning





Woodland with selective thinning. 










 Prescribed burn. 










Updated September 2015