Central Hardwoods

The Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework covers 42 million acres of southern Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana within Ecological Province 223 (Central Interior Broadleaf Forest) of the National Hierarchical Framework of Ecological Units. Provinces are broad geographic areas that share similar coarse features, such as climate, glacial history, and vegetation types. The shaded area on the map shows the portion of Ecological Province 223 within the analysis area, a mosaic of natural communities characterized by oak-hickory forests, woodlands and savannas. The unshaded areas are outside the scope of the Central Hardwoods Framework.

The forests of the region provide multiple benefits, including clean drinking water, wildlife habitat, some of the finest hardwood products in the nation, and multiple recreation opportunities. Climate change has the potential to worsen threats that are already present, such as habitat fragmentation, exotic species invasions, insects, diseases, and soil erosion, putting forest benefits at greater risk.

A team representing federal and state land management agencies, private forest owners, conservation organizations, and others from Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri have come together to accomplish three objectives:

  1. Provide a forum to share the experiences and lessons learned of managers and scientists regarding forest management and climate change in the Central Hardwoods region of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.
  2. Develop new user-friendly tools that can help public and private land managers include climate change considerations in decision-making, including a forest ecosystem vulnerability assessment and a forest adaptation resources document.
  3. Support efforts by public land managers, private landowners, and conservation organizations to put these new tools to work on the ground across the Central Hardwoods region.

You can learn more about the activities of the Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework by viewing the state pages for Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri or by using the menu above to explore Partnerships, Vulnerability Assessments, Forest Adaptation Resources, and Demonstration Projects in the Central Hardwoods.