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Stewardship Contracting with The Nature Conservancy for a Ecosystem Restoration and Community Protection Project

Bayou Ranger District of the Ozark – St. Francis National Forest - May 2005

The Healthy Forests Initiative has provided the necessary tools for the Ozark National Forest and partners to develop a unique long-term ecosystem restoration project aimed to protect communities adjacent to national forest lands and improve forest health. The Nature Conservancy, along with other partners, and the Bayou Ranger District have identified 60,000 acres on six areas of the District for a long-term (minimum ten years) ecosystem restoration. Each restoration area is comprised of three to six landscape scale prescribed fire units.

Stewardship Contracting Projects opportunities include:

  • Prescribed Fire
  • Removal of Underbrush
  • Thinning of Trees
  • Reforestation Efforts
  • Long-Term Monitoring and Research

Purpose and Need

Forest health issues in the Ozarks mirror changes occurring on other forests throughout the country. Historical suppression of wildland fire has led to an increased number of trees, changes in species composition, and increased woody debris that may contribute to catastrophic fires. In recent years, over 340,000 acres of the Ozark National Forest has been adversely impacted by the naturally occurring red oak borer.

The proposed Stewardship Contracting Projects project will:

  • Restore forest health
  • Reduce the risk of catastrophic fires to neighboring communities
  • Enhance biodiversity
  • Protect municipal water supplies
  • Hector, Dover, Russellville and Clarksville, Arkansas, water supplies originate in nearby watersheds.

Partners Include

  • The Nature Conservancy
  • National Wild Turkey Federation
  • Arkansas Audubon Society
  • Arkansas Forestry Commission
  • National Park Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
  • Quail Unlimited
  • Caddo National of Oklahoma
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
  • Southwest Fire Use Training Academy
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation