Ecological sites are part of a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) land classification that is based on biotic factors, such as plant species and communities, and abiotic factors (e.g., climate). These factors produce ecological sites with distinctive physical and vegetative characteristics that influence the land’s ability to produce vegetation and respond to disturbance. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is a member of a multi-agency, multi-discipline partnership designed to develop robust, useful ecological sites for the state of Missouri. The Missouri approach and partnership has recently served as a model for ecological site work across the rest of the country and has been proposed for adoption as for an initiative to accelerate the development of “Provisional” Ecological Site Descriptions (ESDs) nationwide in five years. Missouri is now situated to quickly and precisely cover the entire state with provisional ecological site concepts and to accelerate those drafts into completed, approved documents. Ecological site data and documents are already being used by MDC in addition to NRCS in Missouri.
A poster of The Missouri Ecological Site Project: Correlating Soil Map Units to Pre-Settlement Vegetative Communities for Conservation Planning and Soil Health Monitoring presented at the Missouri Natural Resources Conference in 2017.