JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JULY 26, 2022 – The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has released a new comprehensive report about glades in Missouri. The publication, “Comprehensive Distribution and Characterization of Missouri’s Glade-Producing Rock Formations,” was a collaborative effort between Missouri State Parks Ecologist Allison Vaughn; geologist Larry “Boot” Pierce, Jr., formerly with the department’s Missouri Geological Survey; natural community advisor Paul Nelson; and Central Hardwoods Joint Venture.
“This new publication provides insight about glades, where they exist in Missouri and the importance of protecting these special places,” said Dru Buntin, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “Missouri’s 182,464 acres of glades are geologically and ecologically unique ecosystems, and this report unveils many previously unknown attributes.”
Glades are open spaces in woodlands that contain natural rock gardens with unique plants. Their flora, numbering nearly 500 recorded species, along with the many animals that call them home, is of high conservation interest. Glades often lure nature enthusiasts for nature study and enjoyment.
Several Missouri landscapes are known for their glades, including the White River Hills near Branson and the St. Francois Mountains. Most of Missouri’s glades are south of the Missouri River, with some located in counties in the Mississippi River hills.
“The geology upon which glades exist is highly variable and is one reason certain plants are found nowhere else,” said Vaughn. “No other Missouri natural community has attracted as much scientific study as glades.”
During the research project, many questions arose once glade patterns and distribution were known. Missouri's complex and varied geology appeared to strongly influence glade distribution, their numbers and patterns. The authors, with the assistance of field geologists, worked to assign known geologic formations to each glade. This effort resulted in many new revelations about glades, including the discovery that glades occur in locations other than southwest hillsides and the actual acreage of glades is much less than previously thought.
Learn about these discoveries and find more information about Missouri glades in “Comprehensive Distribution and Characterization of Missouri’s Glade-Producing Rock Formations,” available at dnr.mo.gov/document-search/comprehensive-distribution-characterization-missouris-glade-producing-rock-formations-pub2973.