Lay of the Land
The Dissected Glacial Plain
The region we are focusing on is known as the dissected glacial plain, where erosion has reworked sediments deposited by glaciation approximately 500,000 years before present. Frequent fire and other disturbances maintained a closely integrated mosaic of prairies, oak savannas, and oak woodlands across this landscape of ridges and valleys. While land use change has led to the almost complete loss of tallgrass prairie across the Midwest, unplowed prairies, savannas, and woodlands persist across much of this region, though heavily altered by fire suppression and grazing. The US Fish and Wildlife Service, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Missouri Department of Conservation have identified this landscape as a priority for oak savanna and woodland conservation.
Oak savannas and woodlands in northern Missouri were featured in a recent issue of Missouri Prairie Journal, a the magazine of the Missouri Prairie Foundation. Read articles by field tour organizers and presenters Mike Leahy, John Murphy, and Chris Woodson in this PDF version of the magazine (file size = 8 MB).
Co-organizer and presenter Gregg Pattison discusses integrated management of invasive species and benefits to native plants and wildlife in this 6 minute video produced by the Southern Iowa Oak Savanna Alliance.