Newsletter Stories

Saturday, 01 March 2003
Pioneer Forest Achieves FSC Certification

The SmartWood program of the Rainforest Alliance has announced that Pioneer Forest, a 160,000 acre privately-owned forest in the Ozark Mountains of south central Missouri, has been granted forest management certification under the FSC.

Pioneer Forest is part of the oak, hickory, and pine forests of the Missouri Ozarks. Pioneer has used single-tree selection harvests in managing the forest for more than half a century to restore high quality oak-hickory forests, establish truly sustainable harvests, and protect significant natural communities.

Beginning in 1951, St. Louis businessman Leo Drey began to acquire lands in the Ozarks in an effort to demonstrate that taking better care of forests would produce lasting and economically beneficial results. For more than half a century, Pioneer Forest has restored these Ozark woodlands through conservative, natural forest management, and has preserved ecologically important areas and notable landscape features. The property also features numerous trails for hiking and backpacking as well as an interpretive drive. Some 3,300 acres of Pioneer Forest are considered part of Drey’s L-A-D Foundation, and are viewed as natural lands and not harvested.

Today, the forest represents one of the nation’s best examples of uneven-aged silviculture of central hardwood forests. The overall forest management scheme provides local communities with a steady supply of wood for mills. There are abundant game and non-game wildlife species in the forest and several rare, threatened, and endangered species. Water quality is monitored through a research project that covers several areas in the state.

“Pioneer Forest’s owner and staff have a strong commitment to innovative silviculture and good stewardship on a sound, practical basis," said Clint Trammel, Pioneer’s forest manager. “For over fifty years, we have monitored the health and vitality of the forest, and while one of our objectives is to maintain a productive forest for valuable wood products, of far greater importance is the condition of all the components of the forest after harvest, not just the trees. Through our unique management of oak/hickory forests, and our application of uneven-aged silvicultural practices, we have been able to develop a successful forest management program without the need for clearcuts or the application of herbicides."

“Pioneer Forest is an outstanding example of how forests within the Ozarks can be managed while protecting all the values of the forest, and is a great cornerstone for FSC forest certification in Missouri," said Loy Jones, SmartWood regional manager for the Southern U.S.