Ecological Classification for Missouri

thematic map

The conservation of Missouri’s rich array of native plant and animal species will require the maintenance and enhancement of the native ecosystems they depend on. Regional and landscape ecosystems for Missouri have been derived using the United States Forest Service approach to ecological classification.

An ecological classification system (ECS) is a framework that allows natural resource managers to identify, describe, and map units of land with similar physical and biological characteristics at scales suitable for natural resources planning and management. Once in place, an ECS serves as a basis for an inventory of the number, size, location, and status of native ecosystems. An ECS allows planners and managers to assess the capability of land to produce resources and respond to management. Finally, an ECS is a common communication tool for considering the conservation of multiple resource values.

We provided data and GIS assistance to the Missouri Department of Conservation as they developed a heirarchial classification of ecoregions for Missouri. The Atlas of Missouri Ecoregions (Nigh and Schroeder 2002, published by the Missouri Department of Conservation) was the resulting publication.